The Benton-Carroll-Salem school board is anticipating increases in class size and a reduction in intervention service for students as a result of recently approved spending cuts totaling more than $2 million.
Jeff Dornbusch, board president, said the spending reductions will affect personnel in every department.
“We have very dedicated employees who have served our district and our students well that will no longer have a job next school year,” he said. “These cuts are necessary to deal with the projected deficit in 2014.”
B-C-S voters rejected three levy requests for additional revenues in 2011.
The board has approved the closing of three elementary schools, which will realign the district: RC Waters will house kindergarten through the third grade; the middle school will house grades four through seven, and the high school will house grades four through 12.
Board members consulted with the North Point Educational Service Center to plan for the cuts, which are designed to cause the least amount of disruption to programs, according to Dornbusch.
“At this point, most all programs will be maintained but it would be unfair to tell our community the service level will remain the same,” he said.
The board last October approved an austerity plan that included closing Graytown and Carroll elementary schools if an operating levy on the Nov. 8 ballot failed. Rocky Ridge Elementary School was closed at the end of the last school year.
Closing the schools will reduce personnel by six teaching and 10 non-teaching positions.
Voters rejected a 3.9-mill levy in August - the same millage amount that was on the November ballot. Had it passed it would have generated about $1.32 million annually.
Last week, however, voters strongly supported a 4.33-mill levy renewal: 1,856 for to 901 against, according to unofficial results of the Ottawa County Board of Elections.
The levy has been generating operating revenues for the district since 1991.
The school board has also accepted the resignation of Anne Arnold, the district treasurer.
Arnold, who’s held the post for three years, said “At this time, other opportunities have presented themselves to me and I have made the decision to pursue them.”
Genoa cuts approved
The Genoa school board has also voted to continue an austerity program that totals $1.16 million in spending reductions for fiscal years 2012 and 2013,
The board had already approved cuts totaling $446,982 for fiscal 2012, which began last July, and last month kept those reductions in place as well as adding a few more.
A retiring elementary school teacher will not be replaced and the Chinese language program at the high school is being dropped.
The board also agreed to reduce by one day per week the services of a psychologist and to continue sharing a special education director with the Woodmore School District.
Genoa treasurer Bill Nye said the district anticipates savings of $30,000 a year in electric and natural gas costs. Much of the savings will be realized at the new elementary school, which is serviced by a geothermal system.
Nye said the savings estimates are based on figures provided by the building architect. The mild winter has also been a factor in the district’s use of natural gas, he added.
The board has increased revenues by increasing student fees and the fee for participating in sports to $100 from $75.
Fiscal year 2013 begins July 1 of this year.
Even with the spending cuts the district faces a deficit in fiscal year 2015 without additional operating revenue or deeper cuts, according to projections by Nye.
Voters in the district Tuesday narrowly approved a 1.6-mill replacement levy for permanent improvements: 986 for to 978 against, according to unofficial results.
The 1.6-mill issue replaces a 1.35-mill issue that has been in effect since 1977.
The board and administration have also agreed to discontinue collections on a 1.8-mill levy that has been in effect since 1984.
The result will be no increase in tax dollars for property owners, school officials have said.
JoAnn Friar, director of the Ottawa County Board of Elections, said an official count of the results is scheduled for March 26. Absentee and provisional ballots will be included in that count.