For the past few years our Pickerington school district has had to continue to make budget cuts even with the operating levys that have been passed in the past few years. With the defeat of last November's levy, this month will show the most dramatic cuts that we have ever seen. The Schools have to make up for an estimated $13 Million dollar shortfall and look at cutting about 100 employees/teachers and a chunk of the music and arts programs. Even if the levy had passed, this would only have brought in $7.6 million meaning cuts would have happened anyway. Just not as dramatically.
What gets cut? Of the proposed job cuts, here's how it breaks down.
- Administration looses 7 jobs
- Licensed Employees such as nurses/psychologist/special ED looses 15.5
- K- 6 Schools will loose
- Art Teachers - 9
- Music Teachers - 9
- PE Instructors - 12
- Media Specialists - 5
- Technology Teachers - 4
- Gifted Positions - 3
- RTI Intervention - 10
- Delay All Day Kindergarten
- 7-12 Schools will loose
- Secondary Business Teachers - 2
- Secondary Family and Consumer Sciences - 8
- Secondary Success Academy Coordinators - 2
- Secondary Reverse Inclusion - 1
- Junior High General Music - 1
- Junior High French and German - 1
- Athletic Trainers - 5
- High School Guidance Positions - 2
- Junior School Guidance Positions - 1
- Language Arts 9-12 - .33
- Music (Band, Orchestra, Voice) - 2.25
- High School Math - 1.2
- High School Science - 8
- High School Social Studies - 1
- Junior High Technology Coach - 2
- Junior High Academic Coach - 2
In addition, district paid school field trips will be eliminated, groups of athletes under eight will be vaned to events instead of bussed, and the school day will be reduced by one period limiting the opportunities for our High School and Junior High students to take the classes they want, Art, Music, Science, and still get in the core classes they need for graduation or college prep. Didn't we cut the school schedule to eliminate teaching positions last year too?
Let me be honest. Funding issues are not going to get better in the short term. Until we see more hiring, more jobs, the tax revenue base is not going to improve. State funding is also likely to continue to be cut and certainly will not be increased in the near future. If we are going to have the school system we want for our kids, we are going to have to hold our noses and keep passing levys. I hate raising my taxes, but I can see no other funding opportunities that will be significant enough to cover the continuing short fall. The administration has done a pretty good job controlling all of the spending they can control. The next cuts could only begin to start eating at our athletics programs and that would be a shame.
Now let me put my realtor hat on. People move to Pickerington Oh in large part because of our schools. The excellent rating that the schools achieve and the athletics, music, the clubs and everything else that the schools make available for the kids adds value to our community. It adds value to our homes. The taxes you pay to your schools can help you preserve your home's value. Having a thriving school district will increase them. That's what I remind myself every time I have to hold my nose and vote.