No one likes to think about cutbacks, but in tough times such as the present, reducing staffing and services can be unavoidable.
The Beaver Local School District is facing several difficult but necessary decisions, in order to bring itself out of fiscal watch.
The district was placed in fiscal watch Sept. 10, and a performance audit released last week by the state auditor's office makes several recommendations for saving money to enable the district to get out of the red, but it won't be easy. Implementing some of these changes will undoubtedly be painful for the school board, the personnel involved and students.
The audit also indicated with the reductions already implemented by the district earlier this year and action on recommendations of the audit, the district can maintain positive ending fund balances by fiscal year 2010-11. The district's five-year forecast currently predicts a $555,000 deficit for this year and an $819,000 deficit for 2010. Without the recommended cuts, the district could face a $1.4 million deficit by 2013.
Among the recommendations issued by the audit are eliminating 2.5 teaching positions, two education service jobs, four custodial positions and reducing the district's bus fleet by three buses.
As Superintendent Sandra DiBacco pointed out in a press release, many of the recommended cuts involve the contracts of both the Beaver Local Education Association and the OAPSE Local 564.
"It is the hope of the district to work cooperatively with both the BLEA and OAPSE Local 564 in reviewing the recommendations of the performance audit," DiBacco wrote in the release.
We also hope that the board and its unionized personnel can quickly come to an agreement regarding the cuts. Simply going back to the voters with another levy won't be enough to get the district out of fiscal watch. It's going to require a combination of cutbacks and cooperation from personnel and the public to get the district back on its feet.