Busing, Reduced School Day Possible Cuts As Columbus Schools Loo - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Busing, Reduced School Day Possible Cuts As Columbus Schools Look To Cut $25M

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Without an approved tax levy, deep cuts are in store for Columbus City Schools.

Tuesday night, Superintendent Dr. Gene Harris presented a list of possible $25 million in cuts to the school board.

The cuts that presented for consideration and as points of reference include:

  • 79 high school teaching positions
  • 24 middle school teaching positions
  • Shortened school day for middle and high schools by eliminating secondary electives
  • Busing for high school students and charter schools
  • 95 instructional aides
  • Middle school extra-curricular activities, including sports
  • 25 custodian and substitute custodian positions.

"One of the items I'm concerned about is the busing. By law we don't have to provide busing for high school students. But this would be a hardship on our student population. I'm not in favor of that," said board member Gary Baker III.

More than 300 jobs could be cut, but very few from within the central office.

"These will be very tough decisions that the school board will have to make. Anytime we are looking at laying off any of our staff, that is problematic," explained Carol Perkins, president of the school board.

Rhonda Johnson, president of the Columbus Education Association said that with new core graduation standards coming in 2014, cutting class time for middle and high school students is detrimental to their success.

"I'm just hoping that students will be able to graduate from high school in four years.  We keep doing this and going down that road, high school will be a five-year program," said Johnson.

The shortened school day would reportedly save the district $8.3 million.

The elimination of busing would save the district $4.2 million.

The elimination of custodians would save the district $2.3 million.

The elimination of instructional aides would save the district $1.4 million, and $506,000 would be saved by dropping all middle school extra-curricular activities, including sports.

School board member W. Shawna Gibbs said the board will rely on its values to decide what stays and goes.

"A lot of things that are on the table now are beloved by everyone, and no one wants to cut some things, so we're going to look and really dig deep at a board," said Gibbs.

The student COTA pass program could also be cut, as well as ROTC, field trip transportation, and 24 assistants for the English as a second language program.

The school district released a statement Wednesday, saying that the district is not advocating for the elimination of high school busing nor for the elimination of middle school athletics, adding that the costs were included among the list of consideration, and only as a point of reference.

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