COVENTRY TWP.  Coventry Local Schools is planning to cut $545,000 from its budget moving forward in order to have a positive five-year-forecast.

The district, which remains in fiscal emergency, must show a positive five-year-forecast for all five years in order to even be considered to be removed from fiscal emergency. In order to show that positive forecast, the district is forced to make cuts.

During the May 24 school board meeting, the board heard a presentation from Superintendent Lisa Blough about the upcoming reductions. She said the reduction plan came about as the district is required to show long term stability.

"We can’t keep trending down," Blough said. "Longterm stability is our goal while providing the best education possible."

She said the updated five-year-forecast with the reductions looks good, but added the district isn’t going to go out and start blowing money. Without the reduction plan, Blough said the district will continue on a downward spiral and it would remain in fiscal emergency oversight.

She called the plan unfortunate and hopes the district doesn’t have to do it again in the future.

"This is the first step to change the direction of the district to help us for the long term," Blough said.

Staff reductions

As part of the reduction plan the district plans to eliminate two administration positions, four elementary school teachers, two middle school teachers, one high school teacher and two support positions.

One of the administration positions is the assistant superintendent position, which Blough served before becoming superintendent. She said the position will not be filled. Another position not being filled is the director of operations as Jon Hibian announced his retirement after 36 years. One of the teacher reductions at Coventry Elementary School is Michele D'Alessio, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Blough said Hibian’s responsibilities will be divided between herself, Technology Director Kelly Kendrick and Special Services Director Melissa Ostrowski.

Also being reduced is the teaming schedule at the middle school along with the College Algebra Program.

Board President Chris Davis said riffing teachers is one of the hardest things to do as a board member and called it horrible.

"I hope next year we don’t have to," Davis said.

Lakeview Building sale

The administrative offices located in the Lakeview Building will soon be moving as a part of the reduction plan. In 2014, the district moved their offices into the building, which at one time was an elementary school.

The reduction plan calls for the offices to be split between the middle school and elementary school. Board meetings, which used to take place at Lakeview, will be at the high school moving forward.

Moving is expected to begin June 18 and once the offices are moved, the building is expected to be put up for sale. Blough said the district will try to sell the building before it would put it up for auction. She believes the location on Main Street will make it more marketable and easier to sell.

Closing and selling the building will also eliminate a cleaning contract the district has for the building in the amount of $19,200.

Open enrollment changes

There will also be changes to open enrollment moving forward as a part of the reduction plan. Starting next school year, the district will no longer offer the open enrollment bus stops located outside of the district. Blough said parents will be responsible for getting the students to school or they can be added to a district bus stop if they have a relative or childcare within the district’s limits.

Bus stops being eliminated are at Brown Street, Swartz and Stahl roads ,Swartz Road and Pamer Drive and Swartz Road and South Plaza Drive. In addition to eliminating the bus stops, the district plans to reduce the number of open enrolled students by 40. Blough said the majority of that number is expected to come through accepting fewer applications. Typically the district receives between 40 and 45 open enrolled applications for kindergarten, this year Blough said the district will likely only accept 15 to 20.

Through this reduction class sizes are expected to go from 34 to 1 to 28 to 1. Blough said this sizes will be much more reasonable. The district is planning to increase electives at the high school and middle school. Also, an additional five minutes will be added to lunch at the middle school for students to eat. 

Several other savings will come from food service charge back in the amount of $20,000, district cleaning supplies savings $9,000 and Summit ESC LEA assignments in the amount of $4,200.