Columbus City Schools proposes $21 million in budget cuts

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Despite passing its levy in 2016, the Columbus City School District said it needs more money.

Interim Superintendent John Stanford is proposing 21 million dollars in cuts. That includes 163 jobs and cuts to the social studies, biology and engineering programs, among other things.

The district blames the state for its budget shortfall. It said Ohio’s funding formula that caps state aid is shortchanging students by 110 million dollars.

Former Columbus City School teacher and basketball coach Satch Sullinger said if the district needs to make cuts he knows where it should start.

“I think you start at the top with all this administration, I mean we got people making six-figure salaries that really aren’t doing much of anything,” he said.

Sullinger now serves as Community Liason for Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, working with the city’s youth. He said cuts are needed, but the district has to remember what’s most important.

“Our kids are our future and I just want every kid to have an opportunity to reach their god given talent.”

The District released a document detailing the proposed budget reductions. It said it’s beginning the, “difficult discussion of budget reductions.”

The district is recommending eliminating 163 positions; positions could include principals and cafeteria staff to teachers to administrators. It’s also considering cutting funding in half for instructional materials for subjects like social studies and science. The same goes for educational resources in libraries.

“It’s not fair to cut from the teachers and it’s not fair to cut from custodial. You know if you turn around and look at our high school here we’re in dire needs,” said Columbus City School mom Cindy Brigle who has two freshman in the district.

Brigle said talk of more cuts is frustrating.

“No matter what we do, how many levies we vote for, it’s always the same answer,” she said.

The district points out it has more than 8,500 employees. It said the proposed reductions in staffing represent only a 2% decrease.

In response to what Sullinger had to say, the district said there have been several administrator positions cut over the past five years, and more administrator positions are proposed for reduction in this new proposal.

The district said the new jobs promised in the levy will not be impacted by the proposed cuts. It hopes to have the budget finalized by May.

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