Vandalia would make $4.6M in cuts if levy does not pass this year

Initial cuts would be $1.8 million if levy doesn’t pass in May, but become more drastic if levy doesn’t pass by November.

Vandalia school says they would need to make about $1.8 million in cost reductions if their tax levy does not pass in May and an additional $2.8 million in cuts if voters nix a levy in November.

“This is something we have got to prepare for,” said Rodney Washburn, Vandalia school board member.

The Vandalia school district is asking for an additional 1% income tax that would generate about $6.4 million per year and last five years. It is one of the largest asks for new money on the ballot this May.

The district is asking for the money now because the district has been spending into their reserves for several years, according to their five-year forecast, but the district expects to run out of money halfway through the 2024-2025 school year, risking being taken over by the state.

Vandalia plans to spend about $38.7 million this school year, according to its five-year plan.

The first round of cuts, implemented beginning in fall 2023, would include a reduction of one position out of three expected retirements; cutting eight teaching assistants, three tutors and two aides, all though Miami County Education Service Center contracts, and discontinuing the sign language program.

The next school year, one position would be cut due to retirements, an administration position would not be replaced after a retirement, and the district would plan to bring the school safety officer program and technology program in-house.

These proposed cuts were approved by the Vandalia board of education in February and have already been submitted to the Ohio Department of Education.

Those deeper cuts if the November budget isn’t passed would include 18.5 teacher positions across the district, four aides and therapists. Fewer students would be able to ride the school bus as the district would cut to implement the state minimum requirements to a two-mile radius for kindergarten through eighth grade. Currently, students who live a little over a mile away can be bused to school.

The teacher cuts include reconfiguring Demmitt and Helke elementary schools to grade level buildings, where one building would host kindergarten and first graders and the other grades two through three. Supplemental and extracurricular activities would be reduced by 30%, and elementary level art, music and physical education would be reduced.

Three board members voted in favor of the plan. Board member Mary Kilsheimer was not present.

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