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Education

Woodridge weighing budget-cut options

3/1/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Officials in the Woodridge Local Schools District are trying to decide where to make another $400,000 in budget reductions before school starts next fall.

If Issue No. 10, Woodridge’s emergency operating levy, is not approved by voters March 6, the cuts will have to be much deeper, according to Superintendent Walter Davis.

The additional $400,000 in cuts was part of a deal with voters to keep the levy size down to 6.83 mills instead of a larger levy, in the district’s effort to balance its budget, Davis said at the Woodridge Board of Education meeting Feb. 21.

To that end, the district solicited community members’ suggestions for what to eliminate or reduce through a public forum and a priority survey in the schools and on the district’s website during the past month.

Davis summarized the responses of the 423 people who filled out the survey. Ideas receiving the most support were keeping budget cuts away from the classroom, keeping class sizes as low as possible and keeping Advanced Placement course offerings at Woodridge High School.

The most frequent answers to an open-ended question on ways to save money were to eliminate or cut down on transportation (busing) and to charge fees for students to participate in extracurricular activities. Many respondents also would favor charging fees or seeking grant funding for field trips.

Davis said a number of the community comments and suggestions reflected misconceptions about the district’s financial mandates, such as the free breakfast program, which is required by and reimbursed by the government. He said the results of the survey and clarifications of the misconceptions would be posted on the district’s website within a few days.

“We’re doing our level best to keep the cuts away from the classroom and keep class sizes down,” Davis said, noting the administration was discussing such things as shifting schedules to use staff and resources more efficiently.

The board members voted to approve an intent to proceed with a reduction in force of both certificated and classified staff. This is a formality the board members must have approved if they decide the district needs to eliminate staff positions, Davis said.

The board will notify the WEA (Woodridge Education Association) and OAPSE (Ohio Association of Public School Employees) — the bargaining units for teachers and classified staff members, respectively — they will look at possible jobs to eliminate, said Davis.

The levy campaign committee has been working hard to get the word out about Issue No. 10, he reported, and “we hope the community will support us March 6.”

In other financial news, the district has received an Auditor of State award, Davis announced. Ohio Auditor Dave Yost presents the award for “clean and accurate record keeping,” and this is the 11th consecutive clean audit that Woodridge has received, Davis added. He praised Treasurer Deanna Levenger for the award.

For his regular monthly spotlight on a Woodridge achiever, Davis featured 18 boys and girls from Woodridge Intermediate School. Principal Gretchen Lawn said the staff chose children who always do the right thing, “even when your back is turned.”

She thanked the students for “doing what you’re supposed to do all the time.”

To prevent a conflict with spring break, the board’s next regular meeting was rescheduled for March 27 at 6 p.m. in the Woodridge High School Library, 4440 Quick Road.

Woodridge weighing budget cut options

By Becky Tompkins

Officials in the Woodridge Local Schools District are trying to decide where to make another $400,000 in budget reductions before school starts next fall.

If Issue No. 10, Woodridge’s emergency operating levy, is not approved by voters March 6, the cuts will have to be much deeper, according to Superintendent Walter Davis.

The additional $400,000 in cuts was part of a deal with voters to keep the levy size down to 6.83 mills instead of a larger levy, in the district’s effort to balance its budget, Davis said at the Woodridge Board of Education meeting Feb. 21.

To that end, the district solicited community members’ suggestions for what to eliminate or reduce through a public forum and a priority survey in the schools and on the district’s website during the past month.

Davis summarized the responses of the 423 people who filled out the survey. Ideas receiving the most support were keeping budget cuts away from the classroom, keeping class sizes as low as possible and keeping Advanced Placement course offerings at Woodridge High School.

The most frequent answers to an open-ended question on ways to save money were to eliminate or cut down on transportation (busing) and to charge fees for students to participate in extracurricular activities. Many respondents also would favor charging fees or seeking grant funding for field trips.

Davis said a number of the community comments and suggestions reflected misconceptions about the district’s financial mandates, such as the free breakfast program, which is required by and reimbursed by the government. He said the results of the survey and clarifications of the misconceptions would be posted on the district’s website within a few days.

“We’re doing our level best to keep the cuts away from the classroom and keep class sizes down,” Davis said, noting the administration was discussing such things as shifting schedules to use staff and resources more efficiently.

The board members voted to approve an intent to proceed with a reduction in force of both certificated and classified staff. This is a formality the board members must have approved if they decide the district needs to eliminate staff positions, Davis said.

The board will notify the WEA (Woodridge Education Association) and OAPSE (Ohio Association of Public School Employees) — the bargaining units for teachers and classified staff members, respectively — they will look at possible jobs to eliminate, said Davis.

The levy campaign committee has been working hard to get the word out about Issue No. 10, he reported, and “we hope the community will support us March 6.”

In other financial news, the district has received an Auditor of State award, Davis announced. Ohio Auditor Dave Yost presents the award for “clean and accurate record keeping,” and this is the 11th consecutive clean audit that Woodridge has received, Davis added. He praised Treasurer Deanna Levenger for the award.

For his regular monthly spotlight on a Woodridge achiever, Davis featured 18 boys and girls from Woodridge Intermediate School. Principal Gretchen Lawn said the staff chose children who always do the right thing, “even when your back is turned.”

She thanked the students for “doing what you’re supposed to do all the time.”

To prevent a conflict with spring break, the board’s next regular meeting was rescheduled for March 27 at 6 p.m. in the Woodridge High School Library, 4440 Quick Road.

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