Updated: Otsego considers cuts to balance the budget: AD, podcast, robotics are on the list


TONTOGANY – Otsego Local Schools is looking at cuts in athletics, extracurriculars and staffing as potential cost-saving measures.

After an hour-long executive session Thursday, Superintendent Kevin O’Shea reported that the district was looking at reducing the number of aides, in and out of the classroom; instructional staff and course offerings; transportation expenses, specifically travel to away sporting events; the athletic budget; instructional supplies and software; administrative pay freezes; and stipends for clubs.

“It’s a pretty comprehensive list that affects pretty much all facets of the organization,” O’Shea said.

These potential cuts are being considered as a proactive measure to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of our school district, he said.

In a community email sent Monday, O’Shea went into more detail.

The following positions and expenditures are being evaluated to overcome projected deficit spending. Based on the current forecast, the board will need to either increase revenue to balance the budget or reduce expenditures by approximately $353,492 in fiscal year 2025 and $341,036 in fiscal year 2026.

The cuts include a junior high elective teacher, high school science teacher, high school math teacher and high school English teacher, meaning the elimination of Robotics, Leadership, Money Matters, Humanities, STEAM, and Strategic Thinking classes in the junior high; and Greenhouse, AP Biology, Food Science, Biology Research, Intro to BioTech, Ohio Ecology, and Zoology, Foundations of Math, Intro to Computer Science, App Design, Robotics, Foundations of English, ACT Prep, Communications, Creative Writing, and the district podcast at the high school.

“The last thing we want to do is take things away from kids,” O’Shea said.

Over the past 10 years, Otsego has brought different course options and unique learning experiences to the district; however, the district is not required to offer these classes and our current financial outlook will require that we look at everything to balance our budget, he said.

“I think this will negatively affect students for sure. Kids want meaningful electives and the ability to learn about things they are passionate about. Eliminating or reducing the number of electives we can offer makes for a less healthy environment for our students,” he said.

The safety director and athletic director positions also would be cut, with responsibilities given to the building administrators.

“I believe they can do their jobs but putting more on their plate requires more time in their offices and less time around kids in classrooms and hallways,” O’Shea said about the shift in responsibilities. “Most importantly, it reduces their time and ability to make improvements or try new things.

All field trips would be eliminated.

Extracurriculars impacted include the loss of advisors for Speech and Debate, Book & Media Club, E-Sports and the assistant musical advisor.

The weight room supervisor position would be cut, as would assistant athletic director, junior high assistant football coach, high school assistant football coach, high school assistant cross country coach, assistant cheer advisor for fall and winter, assistant junior high wrestling coach, assistant high school wrestling coach, fifth and sixth grade boys and girls basketball, assistant coach for boys and girls basketball, indoor track, assistant softball coach, assistant baseball coach, assistant high school boys and girls track coaches, junior high girls and boys track coaches, and junior varsity boys and girls golf coaches.

Additional eliminations include:

Library aides at the high school, junior high and elementary levels. Teachers will be trained to check out books and study halls will be moved into the classrooms.

The Ohio Virtual Learning Academy teacher. The district will find alternate methods for credit recovery and begin charging families for the Wood County Educational Service Center packets.

High school counselor. One counselor will manage the high school caseload.

High school 504 aide. High school teachers will be in charge of accommodating 504 students in their classrooms. 504 refers to the monitoring of compliance with laws prohibiting disability discrimination.

Junior high/high school study hall aide. Eliminate teacher common plan time and move study halls into the classrooms.

Kindergarten teacher. Reduce kindergarten from six classes to five. May require hiring an additional aide per contract language.

Teaching and learning software and instructional supplies. Reduce expenditures for these items.

Staff training. Reduce expenditures for staff training and professional development.

Transportation to away events. Eliminate all non-required transportation to events.

Spanish teacher. Reduce language course offerings at the junior high.

Social worker. Move all services to building counselors and administrators

Head grounds position. Divide outside work among custodians.

Tech Integration teacher. Require administrators and teachers to utilize profession development time to do this work.

If everything on this list was cut, the district would save roughly $1.2 million.

“In addition to these reductions, we still need to find new sources of revenue,” O’Shea said.A 0.50% income tax operational levy is on the March 19 ballot, and if passed, would raise $1.9 million annually

If the 0.5% income tax fails in March, the district may eliminate all non-required transportation to weekend junior high and high school events and no routes over 50 miles one way. During the week, transportation will only be provided to the event. No return transportation will be provided.

Addition items that will be cut include all of the stipends listed above plus teaching and learning software and instructional supplies, staff training, the OVLA and kindergarten teachers, and all aides.

These cuts would save the district roughly $350,000.

Additional cuts and cost-savings measures would need to be implemented in years 2027-2029.

“In addition to these reductions, we still need to find a way to increase revenue,” O’Shea said.

No posts to display