State officials praised the school board for its work in making the cuts.
By Mary R. Smith
McDONALD —The McDonald Financial Planning and Supervision Commission has approved a recovery plan from the McDonald school board containing $875,045 in budget cuts.
The cuts bring the district’s budget to $6.9 million for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1. The school board approved reductions totaling $360,173 at a special meeting Monday. The district had already proposed more than $500,000 in cuts to the state- appointed Financial Planning and Supervision Commission on Thursday
Employees affected by the cuts were informed before the board vote.
“We’ve done the best we can do to protect classroom students,” board president Jeff Hughes said.
The commission is now willing to consider a proposed five-year, 6-mill emergency levy to generate $1.6 million over five years.
The school district had a $2 million deficit for fiscal year 2010, which ends June 30, and borrowed that amount from the state. The state declared the district in fiscal emergency in October.
The commission approved the cuts and a plan for a levy at its meeting, though commission member Ed Bush, former Trumbull County auditor, said he wanted to see “what progress is made” before he votes to put a levy on the ballot.
Paul Marshall of the state Office of Budget and Management said, “We gave this district a very difficult task last week. I have to commend the board for doing what had to be done.”
Chairwoman Dr. Jacalyn Osborne said she believed that Marshall “has spoken for all of us. We appreciate what you [the board] have done.”
The commission heard from Village Mayor Glen Holmes that he wants to see the school district “right itself,” so the village can take part in what he called a “ Renaissance” in the area, with the multimillion-dollar project at V&M Steel, an expected third shift at GM Lordstown, and other new business growth.
“We would like to be one of those areas people want to come to,” he said. He encouraged the board to consider an administrative change such as the one in the Orville and Pittman, Ohio, school districts, where one superintendent and one treasurer run two school districts.
He said those districts have save $250,000 in a year.
District treasurer Brian Stidham said he expects the district will have to ask for one more loan, $357,000, from the State Recovery Fund.
The school board has cut $875,045 from the budget for fiscal year 2011. The new cuts include:
Combining the job of superintendent and elementary principal. Maggie Kowach, who was made interim elementary-school principal after the retirement earlier this year of Anthony Russo, will return to her position as kindergarten teacher next school year. The new superintendent/elementary-school principal post is to pay $66,000, for a savings of $130,060. Superintendent Michael Wasser, who resigned Sunday effective July 31, is making $80,755 this year. (Wasser said Monday he does not have another job at this time.) Kowach is making $61,567, plus benefits.
Eliminating medical, dental and vision benefits for two part-time secretaries who will be cut to 24 hours a week from 32 hours a week for a savings of $19,378. A study-hall monitor will also be eliminated.
Reduction of two teachers from full time to half-time.
Elimination of a half-time Spanish teacher, one elementary teacher and cutting the nurse position to half-time after the current nurse retires.
Reductions in supplemental contracts will save $40,514 and include combining the junior and senior class advisers, and cutting the positions of assistant athletic director and physical-fitness coach.
Nonteaching cuts will save $54,158, and include elimination of one custodian.
Custodial, administrative and office-staff cuts will take place July 1, or when administrative contracts end. Teaching cuts will take effect next school year.
Source: McDonald school officials