|Elida braces for more cuts after levy failure|
|Wednesday, November 07, 2012 2:14 PM|
The proposed .75-percent earned income tax would’ve generated around $2.06 million a year to help Elida maintain what programming and personnel it has retained, despite losing $1.6 million alone in the last state budget.
Over the past decade, Elida has reduced spending by $3 million, taking pay freezes, cutting 43 personnel positions, closing the Gomer kindergarten building, reducing and condensing bus routes and eliminating vital programming, including the much-lauded “Success” service program that gained the district national recognition.
Superintendent Don Diglia says the cuts that will come now will be far more dire.
“We’re at the point where there’s nothing left that we can cut without negatively affecting the students,” he said. “The next three or four months we’ll have to make some very difficult decisions to find ways to reduce expenditures to make up for less revenue.”
Possible cuts could include extracurriculars, phys ed, arts and music and possibly full-day kindergarten.
Another tough decision the district will need to make is whether or not to seek another levy in the spring.
“The biggest question we have is when to try again,” Diglia said. “We will no doubt have to go back to the ballot because we just don’t have the money. We’ll most likely have to go back in the spring. The sad thing is that even if we do that and we’re successful, we’ll still need to make cuts because it won’t even go into effect until the next year.”
With 60 percent of votes coming out against the levy, Diglia says his primary reaction was surprise.
“We really thought it would be closer. We will definitely need to take a few days to let this settle in,” he said. “We thought we had been transparent with the community about the cuts we’ve made, especially in the last four years. We’ve put off going back to the voters, we know these are difficult economic times.”
Even with this failure, Diglia says the district is thankful for the votes they did get.
“We did have a lot of support from the community, from parents and staff,” he said. “We’re doing more with less, they’re doing more with less. We’ve tried to do our best and we thought we had presented that to the community.”