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Ottawa Hills schools to make $180,000 in staff cuts

Dr-Kevin-Miller

Ottawa Hills Local Schools superintendent Dr. Kevin Miller.

The Blade/Lori King
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The Ottawa Hills Board of Education Tuesday afternoon approved $180,000 worth of staff cuts that are expected to cost two part-time teachers and one retiree who has continued teaching in the district their jobs.

The reductions in force are part of a $936,000 austerity plan for the 2011-12 school year that Superintendent of Schools Kevin Miller presented last month to the school board. Mr. Miller said everything else in the plan either had already been approved or did not require board action, the latter including such items as not hiring extra summertime janitorial help.

The biggest savings among the items approved Tuesday comes from the non-renewal of the district’s contract with Duane Elliott, a retiree who has continued to teach wood technology, architectural drawing, and drafting classes on a year-to-year basis. Cutting Mr. Elliott’s job and those classes will save the district a projected $99,801.

The other cuts affect a part-time art teacher, a part-time physical education teacher, and the Ottawa Hills Elementary School’s guidance counselor. Mr. Miller said the guidance counselor will transfer into a classroom teaching position that is opening up because of a retirement, but the two part-time teachers will be laid off.

Elementary-school and junior-high guidance services will be merged into one position, with one guidance counselor available to high-school students.

The four cuts follow by three months the school board’s decision to lay off a paraprofessional, a secretary, and a maintenance worker, cuts that took $147,135 out of the 2011-12 budget. Mr. Miller’s budget-cutting plan also anticipates not replacing a mathematics teacher who is retiring to save $103,000 in pay and benefits, and another $140,000 was saved for next year when district teachers consented to foregoing 3 percent raises in their union contract.

School officials have said such cuts were needed even though Ottawa Hills voters approved a 7.6-mill operating levy in November — one of few such levies to pass across Ohio last fall — because even with the additional money, declining property values and state aid will significantly bite into the district’s budget next school year.

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