barberton: Budget concerns are forcing the Barberton Board of Education to eliminate 28 teaching positions.
The school board voted Monday night to make cuts that will save the district $2.5 million a year.
The exact number of teachers that will be laid off is not yet known as the district first must see how many teachers opt to retire or not return after this school year.
Board President Dennis Liddle told the 40 in attendance at Monday night’s meeting that the district has lost nearly $4 million because of federal and state budget cuts, coupled with a 20 percent decline in real-estate tax values.
Liddle said the board reviewed every option and worked to save some teaching jobs through other cuts.
“We have the unique ability to reinvent the traditional structure of district leadership and right-size the district’s activities,” he said. “We have worked with the state legislature to create this model and there is language in the midyear budget review to support our new structure.”
Layoffs, if needed, will be done by seniority and job classification.
The cuts among teachers will save about $1 million. The district has already factored in nine retirees to save an additional $720,000.
Eight administrator positions will be eliminated or reorganized, including one elementary principal returning to the classroom because there will be one fewer school buildings next year. An assistant superintendent position will not be filled. These changes are expected to save $412,000.
Four people — two maintenance workers, a utility person and a custodian — will not be replaced after they retire this year, saving another $240,000.
Board member Maggie Masson cried over the decision.
She said the vote was particularly hard for her as she was a teacher for 37 years and was laid off twice during her tenure.
Masson said that compared to other districts, Barberton is getting a good return from its investment in its administrators, who are taking on additional duties that are not the norm.
The board also voted to name Patricia Cleary as the district’s superintendent. Cleary has been acting superintendent since January.
In addition to her role as the school’s chief, she plans to continue many of the duties she performed as assistant superintendent.
Under the reorganization, Cleary will oversee facilities, transportation, food service and noncurricular technology as well as other traditional superintendent duties. The board approved a three-year contract at an annual salary of $118,000.
In the past, Barberton schools have employed a business manager, maintenance supervisor, custodial supervisor, technology coordinator and treasurer. Under the new model, the district’s treasurer, Ryan Pendleton, will coordinate and supervise all financial and facility operations, as well as manage technology, food service and transportation. His new title will be chief financial officer and chief operations officer. He was awarded a five-year contract with an annual salary of $113,000.
Board members said they will begin discussing a plan for placing another levy on the ballot in August.
Voters rejected a levy in November.
Marilyn Miller can be reached 330 996-3098 or email@example.com.