The Reading Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday, June 8, to take action on budget reductions for the 2020-2021 school year. At the meeting, Reading Superintendent Jason Enix reviewed why the reductions are needed.
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.
Due to COVID-19, the district received a cut in state funding in May and June of this year and anticipates an additional 5% in funding cuts this year through fiscal year 2023.
“This is a revenue issue and not an expenditure issue. During this financial crisis, going for a levy in November is not recommended. If we did not make reductions now we would be looking at a double-digit operating levy in May or November of 2021,” Mr. Enix shared with the Board. “By making these reductions now we can be on the ballot in 2021 with a more reasonable request.”
Mr. Enix also shared that his recommendations to the Board did not just include reductions. The plan also calls for restructuring and reallocating dollars by using grant funds to ensure services to students are being met.
At the Board meeting on June 3, Mr. Enix presented two tiers of budget reduction recommendations to the Board of Education. He and his administrative team looked at reductions in areas that had the least impact on academics while maintaining the integrity of district programs and class sizes.
At the meeting, the Board of Education voted to accept the tier 1 recommendations and make approximately $720,000 in reductions to the budget for the 2020-2021 school year as follows:
- Dean of Students position reduced by 50%
- New schedule - three sections of courses; half-day support for RMS
- Additional administrative responsibilities at RHS assigned to Assistant Principal/Athletic Director
- RES Assistant Principal
- Increase role to focus on social/emotional learning, trauma-informed teaching practice, multi-tiered systems of support, intervention support to provide critical support for RES and district as a result of COVID-19; salary to be paid by state/federal grants instead of the general fund.
- Reduce extended days for Guidance Counselors, School Psychologist, and Dean of Students by 50%
- Reduce building budgets by an additional 10%
- Reduce 1 Administrative Assistant - Clerical Assignment
- Reduce 6 Aide Positions
- Reduce two full-time teachers to half-time from RHS
- 0.5 impacted from previously stated Dean of Students reduction
- 0.5 additional reduction
- Realign 1 technology special position from RES to new position for social/emotional support, intervention, enrichment with this position to be paid for through federal grant funds.
The plan also calls for the district to accept additional open enrollment applications to increase revenue while still maintaining acceptable class size ratios and not increase teaching staff. The district is projecting 40 additional students enrolling resulting in approximately $240,000 in additional revenue.
To learn more and view the presentation given to the Board on June 3, please click here.