Huber schools continue staff reduction plan

How to Go

What: Huber Heights school board meeting

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Weisenborn Junior High School, 6061 Old Troy Pike

The Huber Heights school board will continue implementation of more than $6 million in cuts by reducing 34 support staff at tonight’s meeting.

The reduction will save the district $707,000 next year with the elimination of 33 paraprofessional employees and one clerical employee.

They are part of the final tier of $6.4 million in cuts that were approved in January, which also included other position reductions in the district as well as an increase in pay-to-participate fees.

“It’s very heartbreaking that we have to make those cuts,” Treasurer Ann Bernardo said. “We know every staff member affects every child, and to make those cuts, we know we’re affecting our kids.”

Ten administrators (a savings of $700,000) and 64 teachers ($3.5 million) were reduced earlier this year, and another 8.5 positions — four transportation, 4.5 custodial ($341,000) — will be on the June agenda, according to Superintendent Sue Gunnell.

Of those 64 teaching positions, 48 were reduced, while the remaining 16 either resigned or retired, Gunnell said.

School officials continue to discuss restoring $1.6 million in instructional programs next year if additional revenue is collected, whether it comes from the levy, state or both. Those programs, if restored, would affect all grade levels, Gunnell has said.

Last month, the school board voted to place a 5.95-mill operating levy on the Aug. 6 ballot. If the levy is approved by voters, it would generate nearly $4 million annually and cost an owner of a $100,000 home an additional $15.18 a month.

If the levy passes, 2.5 elementary custodian positions would be restored and elementary busing would remain for students who live more than a mile from their respective school, Gunnell said. If the levy fails, it would increase to 1.5 miles.

“It’s put a lot of pressure on staff to have to make up for a loss of personnel,” Bernardo said. “We’re all trying hard and we want to make sure the kids are still getting a quality education. Hopefully in August we can get the levy passed, and everything can start looking up from there.”

Huber Heights, which has an enrollment of 6,300 students and a budget of $64.7 million, has not passed an operating levy since 2005. Voters have defeated three straight requests for new operating funds — the most recent an 8-mill levy in November.