Liberty BOE OKs $1.2M in cuts
Liberty Board of Education President Joe Nohra, right, reads a list of more than $1 million in cuts to district personnel as board Vice President David Malone looks on. The cuts will go into effect at the beginning of fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1.
By Robert Guttersohn
The board of education on Monday unanimously approved $1.2 million in personnel cuts, a process Superintendent Stan Watson called “gut wrenching.”
The cuts will take effect next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
They include the layoffs of two administrative positions: supervisor of maintenance/transportation, and the cafeteria supervisor.
In addition, seven teaching positions will be eliminated and several positions will switch to part time.
Including cuts already implemented for this fiscal year, Liberty school district will head into 2013 $1.7 million leaner than years before.
“It’s been a tremendously difficult process to go through,” said Watson.
The cuts are required from the fiscal commission, a board of five that is charged by the Ohio Department of Education with bringing the district out of fiscal emergency. The commission meets Monday to approve the cuts.
Watson said members of the fiscal commission provided direction on where to cut first, looking for the least amount of impact on education.
He said the most difficult part was putting names to the cuts.
Board President Joe Nohra said he felt the administration took its time during the decision process.
“I felt the administration did a very sincere job for us,” Nohra said.
In November, the state Controlling Board approved a $1.9 million interest-free advance to the district, covering its deficit for the next two years. The advance must be repaid to the state within that time period.
But there is still a $700,000 gap between the cuts and the district’s deficit, leaving Liberty with either increasing revenue with a levy or making additional cuts in 2013.
Board member Diana DeVito called Monday’s reduction plan absolutely necessary but painful.
“We don’t take pleasure in seeing people lose their positions,” she said.
She then addressed the community, who filled the high school’s community room making it standing room only, saying there is no more room for cuts in the budget.
“Where [in the budget] are we going to find this amount of money?” she said.
The board briefly addressed a Vindicator article Sunday on the district’s former conversion schools LEARN and LEAD, which told how the district’s association with the conversion schools prevented it from dealing with its own budget issues.
DeVito, who is the only person currently on the board when the schools were approved in 2009, said what happened is in the past and that the district is united now. “We moved on a long time ago,” she said. “We have no secrets.”
State auditors are still looking over Liberty schools’ 2010 and 2011 budget and have yet to determine if there are any findings for recovery.
Liberty Board of Education
The Liberty Board of Education announced more than one million dollars in cuts during a January 23, 2012 meeting.