The Reading Board of Education held a regularly scheduled work session on Wednesday, June 3. Reading Treasurer Colette Lewis and Superintendent Jason Enix presented a list of $900,000 in potential reductions to the Board of Education for the 2020-2021 school year.
Mrs. Lewis shared how the district has reached this point including lost funding due to Tangible Personal Property reductions, state requirements increasing without additional revenue to support these mandates and no new operating money since 2009.
The District was notified by the Ohio Department of Education in December of 2019 that Reading was considered to be in “precautionary” watch due to a negative cash balance in FY2023. To offset increased cost and loss of funding, the district implemented more than $1,000,000 in budget reductions this spring to help balance the school district’s budget. These reductions are outlined in the presentation below.
Mr. Enix then spoke to the Board about the proposed budget reductions. He consulted with the administrative team and the Reading Education Association to gather feedback. Mr. Enix spoke of the importance of identifying key values before making reduction decisions.
“We agreed it is most important to maintain the integrity of the district in programming, staffing, class sizes, and extra-curricular programs. It is also critical to “right-size” the district to ensure we are efficient in operations and support,” he shared.
There were four areas where potential reductions were identified.
- Administration - review of administrative team organization
- Operations - building budgets, open enrollment, scheduling
- Support - administrative assistants, aides
- Academics - master scheduling, class sizes, section numbers
Mr. Enix stressed the importance of making reductions in areas that have the least impact on academics. An outline of these recommendations is listed in the presentation at the link below.
According to Mr. Enix, the $720,000 in reductions identified would result in a limited reduction in programming and still keep class sizes reasonable in grades K-8. He shared that further reductions to meet a total of $900,000 will result in a potential loss of programming at Reading High School, increased class sizes at Reading Middle School, and increased class sizes at Reading Elementary School.
After the presentation, the Board went into Executive Session. No vote was taken. Mr. Enix shared that an aggressive timeline is needed to make these budget reductions. The Board is planning a special board meeting on Monday, June 8, at 5:30 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting will not be open to the public but will be live-streamed. The link will be posted on www.readingschools.org.
“We need to complete this process thoughtfully and quickly to notify any affected staff as soon as possible and begin planning for 2020-2021,” Mr. Enix said.