Poland schools cut one teacher for next school year


Staff report

POLAND

The Poland School District will have one fewer teacher when students return in the fall.

The district’s school board approved the layoff of one kindergarten teacher and several part-time workers at Monday’s meeting.

With an additional five retirements and resignations, Superintendent David Janofa said the district will have about 11 fewer full-time equivalent employees next year.

A performance audit conducted by the Ohio Auditor’s office had suggested reducing the workforce by 18.5 full-time equivalent employees.

The part-time positions reduced at the meeting include a food-service secretary, cafeteria and custodial personnel, nonconfidential secretaries, porters and monitors. Janofa said some of those reductions resulted from the decision to close Dobbins Elementary School at the end of this school year.

Janofa attributed the layoff of the kindergarten teacher to a decline in enrollment, a subject that loomed large in the district’s five-year financial forecast.

Projections show the district could have as few as 1,692 students in 2022, down from 2,057 students in 2015. The district’s current enrollment stands at 1,877 students.

“People think this is a reflection of the education in the Poland schools, but that is absolutely not the case,” Janofa said.

He added even districts that participate in open enrollment are seeing declines.

“This is not a Poland phenomenon,” Janofa said. “It’s across the entire state.”

While the financial forecast shows deficits from 2020 through 2022, the district will maintain a positive cash balance through 2021, and Treasurer Janet Muntean said the numbers are much improved from the five-year forecast she presented last May that triggered the auditor’s performance audit.

“The decisions being made are the right ones, and we’re moving in the right direction, but we have a lot of work to do,” Muntean said.

Board member James Lavorini called the transformation over last year “truly phenomenal,” but noted the district is not yet out of the woods.

Highlights in the forecast included an increase in property-tax revenue and a more-than-$700,000 reduction in salaries and benefits between fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

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