Schools Face Deficit, But Teachers' Strike Could Erase It
Strongsville would 'laugh' at a levy this year, official says; meanwhile, work stoppage is saving district big bucks
The Strongsville schools are looking at a budget deficit of around $2 million within two years, the district's treasurer said.
Deborah Herrmann said she was asked to put together a financial forecast in mid-February to be used during contract negotiations between the School Board and teachers' union.
"It showed that if we don't go for a levy, we will need another $2 million in cuts over the next two years," Herrmann said.
A 3.5-operating levy this year would put the district on firm footing until at least 2017, she said.
"It's just one option," Herrmann said. "We either have to make cuts or generate revenue."
It's not likely, though. School Board President David Frazee said he doubts residents would support a levy this year in light of the ongoing teachers' strike.
"I cannot believe the board would agree to place a levy on the ballot given the temperament of the community right now," he said. "They would laugh at us."
Strike Could Change Fiscal Picture
But the strike, now in its third day, could end up skewing financial projections.
Teachers' salaries and benefits cost the district roughly $1 million a week, officials said.
Substitutes cost $175 a day. Paying 350 subs -- the district currently has brought on about 200 -- would cost about $306,000 a week.
The district is incurring other costs, as well, like hiring a private security firm to keep the peace outside school buildings as teachers picket.
Herrmann said she has paid $62,000 to Alternative Workforce, a company that helped seek and process substitute teachers. She said she has not yet received an invoice from Huffmaster Strike Services, which is providing security.
But the outlay won't come close to the cost of teachers' salaries.
Frazee acknowledged the strike saves the district money.
"It's true -- every week the teachers stay away, we reduce our spending," he said.
It's obviously not worth the price in community unrest, Frazee said, and did not factor into the reasons the strike occurred.
"I can't imagine any school district would go through a strike just to save money," he said.
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