Superintendent Blog

A Letter to Our Community

Posted on: September 17, 2016

September 16, 2016

Dear Kings Community,

This letter is not something I would normally want to write. However, I feel that as your superintendent, it is important to be as transparent and upfront with you as possible.  As you know, we have a 6.2 mill Operating Levy on the November 8, 2016 ballot. Kings has not asked for new funds from taxpayers since 2010. Through diligent cost savings efforts, the district was able to make that levy last a total of three years beyond the original forecast.  Those cost savings included re-negotiating our transportation contract, energy savings, pay freezes for employees, and moving all employees to a high deductible health insurance plan.  Additionally, another $1 million in reductions will be completed by the end of Fiscal Year ‘17.

Unfortunately, the Kings District has seen no increase in state funding since 2010, and we are expecting that trend to continue over the next 5 years. The state eliminated the Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursement in 2005 which, once the phase-out is complete, Kings will lose $4 million in funding. Additionally, the district has realized a 5.5% increase in enrollment growth this year which has increased costs.

The message we are receiving from Columbus is that if additional funds are needed to operate our schools, they will have to come from the community.  It is never easy to ask for funds from our community.

Back in the Spring, we held three large community meetings and several small in-home conversations regarding the finances of the district.  During those meetings we gave a financial picture of the district over the next five years.  Our five-year forecast projects a negative cash balance by 2018, hence the need for new funds. We also described possible reductions that would have to be made if an operating levy failed at those meetings.

I wanted to be transparent with you regarding possible reductions if the November levy does not pass. Assuming our Board of Education votes to run another 6.2 mill levy in 2017, the district will also need to make $1.5 million in reductions of personnel and services. My goal has always been to protect the classroom and make reductions outside of it. I am trying my best to keep the proposed reductions away from reducing teachers, but as you can see, with cuts as steep as $1.5 million, it is impossible to do so, especially since a large portion of our budget is personnel.  

The proposed reductions are:

Teachers
Move to 1/2 day kindergarten - (8) Teachers

Administration
Reduce Assistant Athletic Director
Reduce (1) Assistant Principal

Business
Move to 3 Tier Transportation
Incorporate "Pay to Play" for all extra curricular activities

Personnel Service
Move all full time aides to part time (benefit savings)
Propose outsourcing all custodians
Eliminate the YES Program
Reduce all recess aides
Reduce 3 extended days for school counselors
Reduce extended days for Media Aides

If the operating levy passes, these reductions will not be required. Regardless, we will continue to monitor our spending and be as fiscally responsible as possible. For more levy facts, please visit our Levy FAQ page by clicking here. 

I truly appreciate your support of Kings Schools.  

Sincerely,

Tim A. Ackermann
Kings Local Schools
Superintendent