The Sylvania Board of Education on Monday night approved a $5.5 million budget-cutting plan that will eliminate scores of school-district jobs, though not as many as would have been cut had employees not accepted pay concessions last month.
"Our employees stepped up in a time when a storm was looming. They didn't know how bad it will be, but they did it anyway," Superintendent of Schools Brad Rieger said to preface his recommendation to the board that it approve the austerity plan, under which class sizes will increase at all levels, certain curricular offerings will be eliminated, and lunch costs and "pay to play" fees will rise.
Board President Vicki Donovan-Lyle also praised district employees' participation in the pay concessions, under which "step" raises and longevity bonuses due to paid next year will be foregone. The $1.4 million in givebacks from the teachers, support staff, and administrators will allow 36 previously threatened positions to be kept.
Employees' acceptance of a retirement incentive offer also will help the district reduce the amount of unemployment compensation it will have to pay out for layoffs associated with the 75.3 full-time equivalent positions that still will be cut.
But the spending-cut plan still hinges on district voters' May 3 approval of a 4.9-mill school board levy request. Without that levy's $7.1 million in annual revenue, the school board will have to cut at least $3 million more from the 2011-12 budget, followed by even deeper cuts thereafter.