Beavercreek school board approves ‘heartbreaking’ budget cuts

Staff positions will be eliminated, some course offerings and bus routes will go away, and pay-to-participate fees will rise.

Beavercreek’s school board on Thursday night unanimously approved about $2.6 million in budget cuts for this fall, citing coming financial trouble after residents rejected a 6.2-mill levy in November.

The district will cut 15 middle school and high school teachers, up to nine busing staff, three elementary school teacher assistants and eight other staff members ranging from an assistant principal, the district’s last certified school librarian and custodial and grounds employees.

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Because of the cuts, a number of elective classes will be eliminated this fall. Superintendent Paul Otten made only one change from his January recommendations, protecting one middle school art teacher position that had been set for elimination this summer.

Pay-to-participate fees for sports and other extracurriculars will rise from $150 per activity to $250, and the length of the school day will change to save on school bus routes.

Here’s what the plan would mean as far as school hours for the following buildings:

  • 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. for Coy and Ankeney middle schools
  • 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Beavercreek High, Ferguson Hall, Parkwood and E.G. Shaw elementary schools
  • 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. for Fairbrook, Main, Treibein and Valley elementary schools

All five school board members said they didn’t want to make the cuts, with some calling them “heartbreaking,” but they said they had to adjust the budget given projections the district would run out of money in early 2021.

NOVEMBER: Beavercreek levy fails, Career Center passes

School board Vice President Denny Morrison said he knows this is an emotional issue for the community, but said the board must balance its budget.

“Our experts say these are the areas that will have the least impact on students going forward,” Morrison said. “I am going to support the superintendent’s recommendations and hope that we can bring back (some programs) in the future.”

Eleven people spoke to the board before the vote, with a majority of them urging Beavercreek schools not to eliminate the district’s last certified school librarian. The school libraries are generally run by non-certified aides, under direction and planning of the one librarian. The board still voted to eliminate that position.

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Speakers, including some current and retired library professionals, said in today’s internet information age, students need the training in research methods that librarians provide. They said librarians also tailor training to fit with lessons taught by students’ teachers. Several speakers said they chose to live in Beavercreek when they moved to the Dayton area because of the strong reputation of the school district.

Beavercreek schools is asking voters to approve a 6.15-mill levy May 7. Even if that levy passes, the cuts made Thursday will not be reinstated, as plans for the 2019-20 school year already will be in place. Otten has said if the May 7 levy fails, even larger cuts will be made over the summer, including major busing cuts, the elimination of a $750 “family maximum” for pay-to-participate fees, plus cutting some academic and technology programs.

“What do we do to pull ourselves back together, because I see us falling apart,” Beavercreek teachers union president Karen Shiers said. “I want us to be strong and I want us to fight for the levy. … How can we show the community that we stand together to support their children?”

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