Akron Public Schools treasurer Jack Pierson gave the board two extreme scenarios at tonight's meeting for eliminating an $11.6 million deficit in the 2012-2013 school year, which balloons to more than $100 million two years later:
Extreme option A: Taxes only, no more cuts. That would require passing a 10.3 mill levy in November that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $315 a year. If the board puts it off another year, taxpayers would have to pass a 14.5 mill levy costing $444 more for the same homeowner.
Extreme option B: Cuts only, no new taxes. That would require slashing the budget by a total of $45 million by the 2014-2015 school year, with $32 million chopped in the 2013-14 year alone.
Instead, the board announced tonight that it will pursue a combination of taxes and cuts guaranteed to cause pain all around. Taxpayers will have to pass some kind of levy in November, balanced by cuts that could include school building closures, layoffs and reduction of employee health care benefits.
The board will meet Aug. 3 to choose a millage for the ballot, then submit that to the county auditor to get a precise fix on how much each mill would raise.
The board will meet again Aug. 8 to tweak the millage if necessary and vote to put it on the ballot in order to meet the Aug. 10 filing deadline.
It's been five years since the district has asked taxpayers for more money for operations. Since then, the district has eliminated jobs, reduced administrative staff and closed five school buildings. The board will argue that cuts alone will no longer suffice without compromising the classroom.