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Press Release: West Clermont School Board Approves Proposed Cuts if Levy Does Not Pass in March

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, January 13, 2020

Jeffrey Riel
Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives West Clermont School District
513.943.5000
riel_ j@westcler.org

 

WEST CLERMONT SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES PROPOSED CUTS IF LEVY DOES NOT PASS IN MARCH

The West Clermont School District Board of Education voted during the January 13 board meeting to unanimously approve the superintendent’s recommendation for necessary budget reductions to be implemented in the event the 7.99-mill emergency operating levy scheduled for the March 17, 2020 ballot is not successful.

Natasha Adams, superintendent, and Kelly Sininger, treasurer, presented to the board approximately $3.5 million in budget reductions that would need to be implemented for the 2020-21 school year if the March levy failure were to occur.

“We are taking a proactive approach to prepare for the ramifications if the requested funding is not approved by voters because we do not want there to be any surprises, considering the inevitable and immediate impact of the cuts,” said Sininger. “We are always focused on protecting the programs and services that we offer in West Clermont; however, due to previous cuts and reductions and an already lean budget, we are at the point where the implementation of any more reductions will have a significant impact on the student experience.”

In the event that the operating levy scheduled for the March ballot is not successful, the following $3.5 million in budget reductions will need to be implemented:

  • Reduce transportation to the minimum two-mile state requirement for elementary and middle school; it is estimated it will eliminate busing for 65% of elementary students and 9% of middle school students
  • Reduce and/or eliminate programs and courses for students across the district
  • Increase class size to 30+ students per middle school and high school classroom
  • Reduce music, art, physical education, health and technology courses across the district
  • Reduce the number of athletic teams and increase pay-to-play fees to $500 for all athletics per student-athlete per sport with no cap
  • Eliminate a total of at least 46 positions including: 26 teaching positions, 17 classified positions, and 3 administrative positions
  • Eliminate 72 extracurricular clubs at all levels
  • Eliminate gifted services
  • Reduce intervention and enrichment services
  • Reduce student services (health and wellness)
  • Reduce operations and technology services
  • Reduce access to district facilities

“These reductions will not only have a catastrophic effect on the student experience by stripping the school system to core programming, while also eliminating or reducing programs and services outside of state requirements, they also will not solve our financial shortfalls,” said Adams. “Failure of the levy followed by the implementation of these reductions will not be enough to keep the district out of the red, and we will have to return to the ballot.”

It has been 15 years since district residents last passed a new operating levy to support the schools. If passed by voters, the March operating levy will cost taxpayers $23.30 per month per $100,000 appraised home.

“We will always remain committed to stretching dollars and resources, and operating a lean daily operational budget, but we are to a point where our situation is urgent and we have done all that we can do without community support,” continued Adams. “These cuts are not threats; this is our financial reality. Our most vital need right now is stabilization to protect our current programming and services. The failure of this levy would prevent us from providing students with the current level of programs and services and would jeopardize our ability to retain staff. As this district has seen in the past, levy failures have resulted in significant cuts to student programs, experiences and opportunities and can contribute to lower academic performance and growth and that is not the experience we want for our children.”

Below is a complete list of the cuts and reductions that would occur for the 2020-21 school year with the failure of the March 17, 2020, ballot issue. For more information about the West Clermont School District, please visit www.westcler.org.

 

High School Programs and Services

Eliminated

Reduced

  • American Sign Language
  • French I (phase French out)
  • Mentoring
  • College Credit Plus (CCP) offered on campus
  • Dance 
  • Drama 
  • Pep band & jazz band
  • Competition cheerleading and dance 
  • Busing for all athletic events on weekends, holiday breaks and summer 
  • English, math, science, social studies courses/staff resulting in class size of 30 or more
  • Art courses
  • Music courses
  • Health and physical education courses  
  • Credit recovery courses offered at WCHS 
  • Media Center access
  • Intervention & enrichment services
  • Each sport/cheerleading will have a maximum of two (2) teams 

Pay to Play:  The participation fee will increase to $500 per sport regardless of how many sports a student/athlete participates. (No cap)

 

Middle School Programs and Services

Eliminated

Reduced

  • Academic teaming resulting average class sizes 30+ for all core subjects & loss of small learning communities  
  • Spanish high school course & cultural arts encore course
  • All transportation within (2) miles of middle school 
  • Eliminate busing for all athletic events on weekends, holiday breaks and summer 
  • Athletic Director administrative position
  • Encore courses ( ex. Middle school “specials”  - art, music, physical education, technology) 
  • Media Center access
  • Intervention & enrichment services
  • B Team will be eliminated for each cut sport

Pay to Play:  The participation fee will increase to $500 per sport regardless of how many sports a student/athlete participates. (No cap)


Elementary School Programs and Services

Eliminated

Reduced

  • Gifted services 
  • All bussing within two (2) miles from elementary attendance area school. This will impact four (4) current elementary schools’ start and end times: 
    • AE & CE will move to 3rd tier (late start)
    • ME & WT 2nd tier (early start)
  • Specials (art, music, physical education, technology)
  • School buildings will be closed at the end of the academic school day
  • Instruction to students will decrease by 30 minutes per day to account for the supervision of students for arrival and dismissal


District-Wide Programs and Services

Eliminated

Reduced

  • 72 clubs at elementary, middle and high school 
  • Instructional leaders for academic excellence (teacher leadership positions)

 

 

 

  • Administrators
  • Weekend-only rental of school facilities  (ex. reduced availability for PAC and HS Theater)
  • Student Services including the elimination of Health Clinic Assistants, Van Driver and Attendance Campus Coordinators
  • Operational (custodial & technology)
  • MS/HS classified positions

 

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