Little Miami School District outlines possible plan for state takeover - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Little Miami School District outlines possible plan for state takeover

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

MORROW, OH (FOX19)  - Little Miami School District is bracing for the worst.

Parents, students, teachers and staff packed the Little Miami High School library in Morrow to learn what comes next. Auditor of State Mary Taylor placed the district in "Fiscal Watch" on Thursday, March 11, moving it one step closer to state takeover. That means if the district can't come up with a plan to plug its looming $10 million budget gap, the state will take over in August.

Superintendent Dan Bennett said there doesn't seem to be a way to avoid the move. The district is hoping a levy in May can help plug the budget hole. On February 16th, the Little Miami Board of Education voted to place two separate issues on the May 4th ballot: a 1% earned income tax and a 6.483 mill property tax, both for a length of five years. This will be the fifth levy for the district in recent times. The four levies before this one were all voted down.

If the state does take over, Bennett said staff size, class size, electives, everything would be reduced to state minimums.

The Little Miami Board of Education and Administration have been preparing for the impending placement into "fiscal emergency." School leaders have met with representatives from the Ohio Department of Education, and are working to develop a plan regarding academic offerings, school day structure, extracurricular activities and staff.

On Tuesday, district leaders outlined their plan at the School Board meeting.

Bennett said proposed changes include: increasing class size. Elementary class sizes would increase from an average of 24 students to 28-30 students. All other classes would increase to 30-35 students.

A state representative said some electives would be reinstated. Last year, 93 sections of electives were cut out. A state representative said next year, they'd reinstate a few classes, bringing the number of elective sections to 74.

The district is also considering implementing "pay to play" for extracurricular activities, ranging from $480 to $535.

The school day for junior high and high school students could be shortened to six blocks, including a mandatory study hall.

Bennett said all AP/Honors classes would remain.

The district is also anticipating enrollment and staff reductions. Bennett said as of Tuesday, six teachers have turned in their resignations.

Bennett said he's not recommending cutting any more positions. The district's plan also cannot include anticipated revenue from sources such as the May levy.

 

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