The Pike-Delta-York Board of Education on Wednesday, March 9, approved a list of difficult cuts that school leaders say will be necessary if an income tax levy request fails in May.
Voters will decide on May 4 whether to approve the five-year, 1% income tax. The levy is estimated to generate approximately $1,775,000 per year for the five years. These dollars will be used for the district’s general operating expenses such as bus fuel, classroom supplies, facilities maintenance, personnel costs, textbooks, technology, transportation, and utilities.
If it fails, the cuts would take place for the 2021-2022 school year.
“The passage of this levy is vital to the financial stability of the district and needed to continue the great opportunities afforded to our students,” Superintendent Ted Haselman said. “No one wants to pay more taxes; however, no one wants their property values to plummet due to a subpar school system, either.”
The district made over $300,000 in cuts heading into this school year. They included reducing an administrator, three classroom teachers, and one-and-a-half classroom aides.
Newly-approved cuts would decrease district expenditures by about $1.2 million. Without either the income tax levy or the cuts, the district will have a negative cash balance by the end of next year, according to the superintendent.
There would be 18 staffing cuts if the levy fails. The list includes 10 teachers, one of which would drop from full-time to part-time.
Also in line to be cut would be three aides, two bus drivers, a secretary, a network technician, and the district athletic director.
“With the cuts already implemented for this school year, we knew there were only so many staffing positions that could be eliminated, so all areas of the district needed to be evaluated,” Haselman said. “After determining our staffing down to bare bones, it was evident more savings would need to take place to include the programming and transportation.”
All extra-curricular activities would be eliminated for next school year. That would include athletics, clubs, and marching band, among others. All athletic and non-athletic supplemental contracts would be eliminated as a result.
Also eliminated would be the district gifted program, the two-year kindergarten program, and the high school FFA program. There would be no field trips or alternative educational opportunities district-wide.
Potential transportation reductions were approved by the Board Wednesday as well. Transportation of district students would be reduced to the state minimum requirements.
Only students in grades K-8 who reside more than two miles from school would be transported. There would be no high school student transportation provided, except to and from Four County Career Center, as required by law.
“What we would be left with if the levy is unsuccessful are the bare minimum. This includes the bare minimum for classrooms with very large class sizes, the bare minimum for transportation of students, and no additional learning opportunities for students in extra-curricular activities etc. This is not what is best for our students but we can’t have what we can’t pay for,” said Haselman.
The superintendent stressed that the cuts are not a threat. “The biggest thing we want to get out at this point is the board has already taken action on these cuts/eliminations,” he said. “If the levy does not pass, this is already a done deal.“
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010.