Bellbrook-Sugarcreek school board OKs further budget cuts

News Center 7?s Monica Castro explains more about the cuts coming up at 11 p.m. on WHIO-TV Channel 7.

BELLBROOK — The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek school board Thursday night approved two plans, which will mean cutting millions of dollars from its budget.

News Center 7's Monica Castro said some of the cuts are a done deal, but that others will depend on the outcome of a levy next month.

Superintendent Doug Cozad described the list of cuts as a “nuclear option” if voters say no to the 5.7 mill operating levy because it would drastically reduce student services.

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“These are extremely impactful, devastating. These are going to change the student experience at the school,” Cozad said.

Since 2018, the district has cut $2.3 million. After voters turned down a levy in May, the district eliminated some bus routes and 20 staff positions.

Cozad did not sugarcoat the list of cuts the district must make no matter what.

“Even if we do pass a levy, we are still right at about zero for our 5-year forecast. there are reductions that we still have to do in order to push that off,” he said.

Those measures include:

  • Raising sports participation fees from $150 to $200
  • Increasing all-day/everyday kindergarten tuition by $900 a year

“Actually, this was about the amount it was a few years ago. We’re bringing it back up to that amount,” Cozad said.

Those fee hikes would save the district close to $290,000 in 2020-21.

A levy failure means even deeper cuts, which will save $747,083 over the next two years including:

  • Eliminating gifted STEP program at Bell Creek Intermediate School
  • Eliminating world language offerings at Bellbrook Middle School
  • Eliminating 1 English position at Bellbrook High School
  • No parking lot resurfacing or landscape mulch in summer 2020
  • Delay purchasing Chromebooks for 1 year

The district is seeking a 5.7-mill operating levy on the March ballot. If approved, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $200 a year.