Possible budget cuts could include closing Edgewood school

Spending reductions considered in wake of voters’ rejection of school tax.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

TRENTON —One of Edgewood’s five schools may be targeted for closing as part of sweeping budget cuts now being discussed in the wake of this month’s rejection by voters of a tax increase.

The shuttering of Edgewood Early Childhood School, located in the village of Seven Mile and operating at the location since 1954, may be included in preliminary Edgewood Board of Education discussions on how to slice more than $1 million from next school year’s operating budget.

The school board’s meeting Monday night included a menu of possible budget reductions presented by Superintendent Kelly Spivey, who asked the governing board to begin to review savings options to eliminate the district’s on-going budget shortfall.

Further complicating the board’s task is a large and presently unknown variable: What level of state funding will Edgewood receive in the next state biennium budget.

Of the district’s total operating funds, 56% of those monies come from the state, and the state budget may not be finalized until midnight June 30.

Spivey cautioned the preliminary discussions among board members, the community and district officials are at this point “in pencil not pen” with no final decisions yet.

“Let’s wait to see what the biennium budget tells us,” said Spivey.

“We have cut a lot of things, but let’s see where that (budget) falls,” she said. “We don’t know what that is going to do to this conversation.”

On May 2, voters in the 3,600-student district rejected a proposed 1% earned income tax.

Without new operating funds from local tax revenue, Edgewood officials have warned of pending budget cuts that would include reductions in student programs and school personnel next school year.

The current 2022-2023 school year saw the district cut — or allow to remain open due to attrition — five central office and school building administrators, a district business manager position and 19 teaching jobs.

Other possible budget cuts could include the elimination of high school busing and elective course offerings, including possibly advanced classes.

The district, which like all public school systems is mandated by Ohio law to operate without prolonged budget deficits, has already cut $1.6 million during the current 2022-2023 school year from its $38.7 million annual operating budget.

But Edgewood school parent Molly Yeager, who attended the meeting, said while she has concerns about any budget cuts, the possibility of closing down the early childhood school in Seven Mile and consolidating its students into other Edgewood schools was particularly worrisome.

“The board didn’t close the early education center this week, but it is very apparent that it is still on the short lists of possible cuts, citing the building required too much maintenance,” said Yeager, who is a former Edgewood school board candidate.

“The district and the levy committee had listed out potential cuts - if the levy didn’t pass. Closing schools was not mentioned until the levy failed and the board lost its appetite to increase pay-to-play (sports and other extracurricular fees).”

Edgewood School Board Member Marc Messerschmitt said cuts should be made in areas least impacting students.

“One thing we’ve said from the beginning is that we want to keep these cuts as far away from the classroom as we can. We have to decide if we can really afford to make these cuts,” said Messerschmitt.

The board approved Spivey’s general outline for reductions, and she said future discussions will be more detailed.

Spivey told the board members: “Now we can start putting some details to these plans and move forward.”

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