Fall Issue: 2016
Kings: Tough cuts coming if levy fails

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A Nov. 8 levy failure will require a series of cuts, including a move to 3-Tier busing and staff reductions.

A state funding freeze since 2010 and the rising costs of running a rapidly-growing district could make the failure of a Nov. 8 operating levy particularly painful for Kings Local Schools.

“Unfortunately, the Kings District has seen no increase in state funding since 2010, and we are expecting that trend to continue over the next 5 years,” said Superintendent Tim Ackermann in a recent letter to his staff and the community.

“The state eliminated the Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursement in 2005 which, once the phase-out is complete, Kings will lose $4 million in funding. Additionally, the district has realized a 5.5% increase in enrollment growth this year which has increased costs.”

There are 11 new housing projects opened or opening within Kings borders. This year’s kindergarten class is the largest of all K-12 classes at Kings — all but two of which have more than 300 students.

Citing a wish to be “transparent and upfront,” Ackermann outlined $1.5 million in cuts the district will have to make if voters reject the Nov. 8 levy:  

  • Teachers
    The district will revert to half-day kindergarten , cutting eight teaching positions.
  • Administration
    Reduce Assistant Athletic Director
    Reduce (1) Assistant Principal
  • Business
    Busses will move to 3 Tier Transportation
    Incorporate “Pay to Play” for all extra curricular activities
  • Personnel Service
    Move all full time aides to part time (benefit savings)
    Propose outsourcing all custodians
    Eliminate the YES Program
    Reduce all recess aides
    Reduce 3 extended days for school counselors
    Reduce extended days for Media Aides

Without these cuts, Kings would be operating at a deficit by 2018. But if the Nov. 8 levy passes, the cuts will not be required.

Ackermann has expressed that he wants to keep cuts away from the classroom, though that tends to be hard to avoid. Teaching cuts are based on seniority, so the staff will be moved around by grade level based on who is cut.

“My goal has always been to protect the classroom and make reductions outside of it,” Ackermann said. ”I am trying my best to keep the proposed reductions away from reducing teachers, but as you can see, with cuts as steep as $1.5 million, it is impossible to do so, especially since a large portion of our budget is personnel.”

Bussing will be moved from 2 Tier — with all senior and junior high school students on one bus round and elementary on another — to 3 Tier, with elementary being broken into two rounds. This will necessitate the high school starting the school day five to 10 minutes earlier and two of the elementaries starting 20-40 minutes later.

The assistant principal position would be cut from one of the schools in the district. Currently, Ron Corradini and Rob Burnside serve in these positions at the high school.

Corradini said the job would obviously be more difficult without a duo, and the loss would make it more difficult for administrators to alleviate the out-of-classroom duties of teachers. He placed a lot of emphasis on helping students.

“The way we evaluate how we do our job is the impact on the kids,” Corradini said.

Ackermann said he has been in this situation before. While working in Milford Schools, he encountered problems with funding that resulted in similar cuts. In his experience there he claims he “looked under every stone” for savings, and says he’ll do the same at Kings to avoid cuts in the classroom.

Jay Marketos

By J. Marketos

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