BARBERTON: Art, music and sports programs in Barberton schools will be reduced or eliminated if the $3 million levy does not pass May 7.
The potential cuts were announced Wednesday night as the board met to review recommendations to make up for a budget shortfall.
“These eliminations or cuts are not easy for any of us to have to think about or discuss,” board President Joe Stefan said. “Each one of us on the board of education, we each have our passions that we’re very passionate about, and these things actually equate to people, and that makes it always very tough.”
Stefan listed several cuts and reductions with failure of the proposed 8.45-mill levy. They are:
• Elimination of elementary art and music programs, which might lead to a shortened day.
• Kindergarten would move to half time, pending the governor’s budget.
• Elimination of middle school foreign languages.
• Reduction of high school foreign languages.
• Pay-to-participate fees would double.
• Busing cuts to state minimum would continue.
• Reduction of middle school sports.
• Reduction of high school and middle school music programs.
Ryan Pendleton, district treasurer/chief financial officer, said the cuts would save about $1 million to $1.2 million.
“We said everyone has their passion and we know mine is in creativity and the importance of the arts and a total education for our children,” board member Maggie Masson said. “That will be very, very difficult, not for us, not for the parents but it’s going to be very difficult for the children. Think about what they look forward to when they go to school.”
Stefan also listed what would be guaranteed if the levy passes. They include:
• Restore busing to a one-mile radius.
• Pay-to-participate fees would not increase.
• Full-day kindergarten would continue.
• Elementary art and music programs would remain.
Board member Megann Eberhart was choked up when discussing the potential cuts, describing how her daughter has a love for the arts.
“This just totally breaks my heart,” she said. “We’ve cut as much as we can around the fringes and protected the core academics of the classroom, and until the community can see the good things going on we’re going to have to start eliminating programs for our students and we’re at that point.”
Barberton is projected to receive a $1.5 million increase in state funding beginning in fiscal year 2014 and will see no state funding cuts in fiscal year 2013 beginning this July, according to early projections behind Gov. John Kasich’s new school funding formula. School districts must now wait for lawmakers in Columbus to review and revise Kasich’s funding plan.