School Board OKs Cuts, Looks at Next Five Years
Treasurer: “The levy dollars we expected aren’t here. That’s why a new levy just has to happen.”
In one of his last acts as Lakewood’s treasurer, Rick Berdine laid out the school district’s updated five-year forecast to the Lakewood School Board on Monday night.
As expected, the school district's financial picture isn’t exactly pretty.
But it’s also not as bad as officials had anticipated during the last forecast in October.
After Berdine laid out the five-year plan, the school board OK’d Superintendent Jeff Patterson’s plan to trim millions from the budget.
Berdine said among the reasons for the shortfall are falling property values — which means fewer dollars the district can collect from levies.
State cuts — to the tune of $6.3 million — haven’t helped either.
“It’s nobody’s fault,” Berdine said. “The levy dollars we expected aren’t here. That’s why a new levy just has to happen.”
The calculations cannot, by law, include projections for future levies, he added.
“The successful passage of the 2013 levy is a critical next step to continuing the success of this five-year financial forecast.”
Monday’s meeting took place at Grant Elementary School, one of the three schools slated to close in an effort to save the district about $400,000.
The board approved additional cuts to the staff. There will be a total of 25 fewer staff positions heading into the next school year.
Five teachers will lose their jobs as part of the cuts.
The rest of the staffing cuts will be made through attrition.
“I am not going to tell you there wasn’t any pain in the cuts that were made,” Berdine said. “The muscle is still there. The cuts were made in a very responsible and professional manner.”
The reductions will save the district about $8.6 million over the next three years, officials have said.
Among the feedback from residents in a series of public meetings was the importance of smaller class size — something Berdine said wouldn’t be affected by the cuts and looming school closing.
Later in the meeting, the board accepted Berdine’s resignation after he accepted the treasurer’s post in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District earlier this month.