School districts are making cuts

When Milford passed its last operating levy in November, 2008, the district had already made millions in cuts to administrative expenses.  This helped voters feel more comfortable that the district was spending responsibly and watching taxpayer funds.

Now, other school districts are in this same situation.  In the face of a weak economy with continually rising costs, districts in the area are cutting expenses before levy issues go on the ballot, thus requiring less from the community in new or renewed levies.  But despite asking for less, many districts are still worried that voters will not be willing to add or maintain taxes as they face financial pressure from all sides.

Of course, we’re all aware of Little Miami’s situation – they face fiscal emergency this summer whether they are successful on May’s ballot or not.  But the district has worked to listen to the community, moving from a high millage operating levy to a combination earnings tax/emergency operating levy that is more palatable to residents.

In addition, Norwood is placing a 9.48 mill substitute levy on the ballot to replace two expiring emergency levies.  This levy will actually cost taxpayers less than they have been paying.  The district hopes the reduction of about $8/year on a $100,000 home will be acceptable to voters, versus saving the entire $290/year if the levies are not renewed.

Northwest Schools will be cutting $1.9 million by August IF their emergency levy extension passes in May.  If it fails, the district will need to find $2.5 million more in cuts.

Princeton is cutting $1 million in administrative positions as part of $3 million in planned cuts for next school year.  The reductions are due to changes in business tax laws that reduce their revenue by about 30%.

There are 13 school issues on the ballot for May, none in Clermont County.

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2 Responses to “School districts are making cuts”

  1. Tom Cannon Says:

    We as taxpayers are always being told “continually rising costs” is the reason schools need more money. We are told these costs are always going up, which seems to preclude any justification for the expenditures. And as a result there will always be a need to raise taxes again and again and again. But, we taxpayers need to realize that it isn’t rising costs that’s the problem. It’s continually rising SPENDING that’s the problem. Just look at Milford’s five year forecast as a prime example. Where are the justifications for these increases? Keep in mind that inflation is at a very low rate. It was negative for 2009. And it, along with the cost of living, is forecasted to remain very low for at least the next two years. Yet, Milford is forecasting increasing its spending 30% from 2009 to 2014. The federal government said wages decreased, that’s right, decreased more than 3% during 2009. But Milford is forcasted to give out pay increases totaling about 8% during that same period 2009 to 2014. And that doesn’t include increases in benefits cost the district picks up as well. Since the cost of living is negative. What justifies these increases?

    Though it has been said that this 5 year forecast is sort of a wish list, history shows it to be more than that. It better resembles a spending plan. Presently it shows 2014 expenses to be $9 million more than revenues. And it looks like Milford would enter 2015 with a $4.5 million deficit. Obviousely, it needs to be trimmed. It needs to be brought in line with what the community can afford and will support. Otherwise we will certainly be in financial trouble once again and very soon.

    • andreabrady Says:

      I completely agree with you, Tom. I feel very strongly that the district must respect taxpayers by spending as responsibly as possible, while not compromising the education we are providing. Last fall, the board gave the administration the task of cutting at least 2% of total expenditures this year. While we don’t have “official” numbers yet, it is looking like we will accomplish that.

      This money will not then be spent on something else – it will help offset the annual reductions in funding from the State, which are projected in the forecast, as well as other increases we can’t control (such as healthcare). We’ll also work to extend our funds as long as possible, delaying the time until we must ask for another levy. Our current administration is very cost-conscious and is working hard to reduce where possible. The current board, also, is committed to stretching funds. Hopefully we will beat the forecast significantly each year, and show that this time, the 5-year forecast is not a spending plan.

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