ELYRIA, Ohio - By a unanimous vote the Elyria City School Board approved $3 million in cuts Wednesday night, a move that will mean the elimination of 59.5 positions.
Voters in November failed to pass a levy prompting the need for the cuts to avoid a deficit by 2015.
This is the second year in a row the district needed to cut $3 million from its budget. Last year, 52 positions were cut and a school closed. With no buildings left to close, the cuts must all fall on personnel.
Elyria Superintendent Paul Rigda said 16.5 teaching positions would be eliminated in the core curriculum area with half coming from the high school, four from the middle and four elementary. Six of those would be in special education.
Twenty-two jobs would be cut in the area of administration and support staff.
Another 21 jobs are being eliminated in non-core areas with the elimination of the district's media production facility and the closing of WEHS-TV. No art, music or physical education programs would be eliminated, though six positions will be cut and program offerings will be scaled back.
Rigda said they considered the elimination of some sports or pay to play, but that wasn't really an option.
"Elyria is a very diverse city," Rigda said. "We know if we do like our neighboring districts do and charge $400 to $500 a sport, we'll have kids that can't afford to play and they're going to do something on Friday night. We'd rather have them in a uniform on a field or on a golf course or on a tennis court than out on the streets."
The district got a pleasant surprise in the governor's proposed budget, which is slated to send an additional $1.6 million the district's way. While that helps,board president Daniel Boddy pointed out it also can't at this point be counted on.
"We know that any governor promises one thing, but by the time it goes through the systematic checks and balances down at the statehouse, what they tell us today and what is delivered to the district is going to be two different amounts of money," Boddy said of the legislative process.
Back-to-back years with cuts of $3 million leaves the district in perilous position, said Rigda.
"Now we're eliminating people who have a direct impact on the kids," he said. "I think it's sad and dangerous that we have to embark down this path right now and I am very hopeful that it could end here."
"This will send quite a bit of a shockwave through our district," Rigda added. "This is the limit, we're at the limit. Don't let things deteriorate like they did in Midview, like they did in Lorain, so that you're in crisis mode before you step up and say that's not the school district we want."