Mantua – “Crestwood enrollment has been declining, as larger graduating classes are replaced by smaller elementary classes. In the period of 2003 – 2013, enrollment has declined by 24.9%,” explains Superintendant, Joe Iacano.  Staff reductions of nearly 27% have been made during that same time period to balance Crestwood’s budget. In spite of these cuts, Crestwood Schools have managed to maintain the Ohio Department of Education’s Excellent Rating since 2010. “It’s been our practice to reduce teaching staff as enrollment declines,” states Iacano.
While declining funds based on declining enrollment have been budgeted for, Crestwood, as well as other Districts in Ohio, has recently been hit with additional funding cuts from the State of Ohio. Governor Kasich’s State Budget, passed in July 2011, made severe cuts to Ohio’s K-12 schools that are in effect starting in 2013. While the state budget cuts to schools across Ohio are valued at 11.5%, the effect on Crestwood’s budget equates to a loss of $1.6 million dollars for the 2012-2013 academic year. This dramatic cut in funding could not have been forecast. The Crestwood District, and other Districts across the state of Ohio, are faced with the same issue.
Without additional funding, the District will be forced to make severe cuts in order to continue to operate in a fiscally responsible manner. Iacano continued in his presentation to Crestwood School Board members Martha Phillips, Bonnie Lovejoy, Norman Erickson, Matthew Sorrick, and Debra Soltisz; “These are not decisions I want to make. But these difficult decisions must be faced. ”
Iacano’s presentation to the Board, teachers, and concerned citizens present at the September 10th school board meeting was a call for solutions. He presented 19 proposed cost-cutting options for board feedback and discussion, each with a low-to-high estimated range of savings. Items for review included:
• 25%-50% increases in participations fees for High School and Middle School
• Greatly reduced school transportation, district-wide
• Reductions in elective teachers and core subject teachers at the High School and Middle School
• Reduction in grade level teachers at the Primary and Intermediate School
• District-wide reductions in administration and building budgets
• Additional savings could be achieved by making full-day kindergarten available on a tuition-basis, since State funds only provide for half-day kindergarten instruction.
The proposed bottom -line: a cost-savings of $800,000 – $1.6 million, depending on the categories chosen and the cuts approved. The proposed list was presented to the group; hard copies were available for all meeting attendees.
The school board will hold a special meeting at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, September 19 in the Crestwood High School Library. Iacano’s proposal will be discussed, and the school board will be able to provide feedback. This meeting is open to the public and all citizens who are interested in the future of the District are encouraged to attend.
The final public portion of the September 10 meeting covered general school board business. Meeting minutes from previous Board meetings were approved. (Available for review at http://www.crestwood.sparcc.org/content_page2.aspx?cid=206.) The board also approved employment of substitute teachers, substitute aids, and supplemental services for the 2012-2013 school year. The Board also approved service contracts to provide mandated health care professionals for Crestwood High School students for 2012-2013.
After presentation of Board member reports, it was decided that Matt Sorrick and Norm Erickson would both be on the Security Committee. Due to overlap in issues and topics covered, Mr. Sorrick and Mr. Erickson will also serve on the Permanent Improvement Committee to help enact any projects involving both committees. Mrs. Soltisz will serve as an alternate on both committees. After this decision was made, the Board went into Executive Session to discuss more sensitive district employee issues in a closed-door session.