Sunday, February 15, 2004

Batavia schools plan cuts

Budget to shrink by $800,000 regardless of levy outcome

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

BATAVIA - Like 17 other Southwest Ohio districts placing school levies on the March 2 ballot, the Batavia Local School District is making plans if its proposed 6.9-mill operating levy is rejected.

But the Board of Education has also announced cuts of $800,000 that will take effect regardless of the vote's outcome, which include eliminating 20 athletic teams and up to 10 teaching positions.

"We know that it hurts to pay more taxes, so we're not only asking for money, we're looking for ways to make cuts and be more efficient," Superintendent Gary Brooks said in a letter sent to parents and staff after Monday night's board meeting.

If the levy is approved, the owner of a $100,000 home will pay an additional $211 per year. If it fails, the district faces another $1.1 million in cuts, including elimination of all extracurricular activities, cutting another 10 teachers or other instructional personnel and the immediate elimination of high school busing.

Brooks, in his first year as a superintendent, said he is aware of community concern over some of the district's past spending habits.

"We're telling people where we're at, what we're cutting and what we'll need to cut if the levy fails," he said.

Cuts to be made regardless of the outcome March 2:

• Eight to 10 instructional positions, including teachers, librarians and counselors; one administrator, one custodian and one of two aides.

• Creating a two-tier bus system with grades K-4 on one bus route and 5-12 on a second, clustering bus stops and eliminating stops on private drives.

• 20 sports teams, including bowling, dance team, freshman football and basketball; reserve football, soccer, softball, baseball and cheerleading; and seventh-grade football, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading.

• Friday night school, in-school suspension, summer school and summer sport camps.

Among levy-contingent cuts:

• High school busing, effective March 8.

• All sports and extracurricular activities.

• Up to 10 additional teachers or staff.


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