Following referendum’s defeat, Reynolds lays out potential budget cuts
Staff reductions, hybrid schedule would contribute to $1.4 million in savings
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – Following the narrow defeat of the School District of Tomahawk’s April 6 referendum seeking $3.25 million per year for four years beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, District Administrator Terry Reynolds laid out a first draft of budget cut considerations as the next school year approaches.
The draft describes steps the district could take, including staff reductions and implementing an in-person/remote hybrid schedule, to save nearly $1.4 million in the 2021-2022 school year.
The district will have to operate with $3 million less in operational revenue beginning July 1, when its current four-year referendum expires.
Reynolds presented the draft to the district’s Board of Education during its Tuesday, April 13 meeting. The ideas in the draft, along with others, will be discussed at future meetings, Reynolds said.
Reynolds stated he anticipates the district will need to spend “at least $1.5 million out of the district fund balance over and above the budget cuts that will be necessary this coming year.”
Most budget decisions are anticipated to be made by July, when the board usually adopts the tentative budget for the upcoming school year, Reynolds noted.
Draft of budget cut considerations
The draft provided by Reynolds explains action the district could take to cut $1,382,788.05 in costs.
Among them was a reduction in staff. Reynolds previously stated that 80% of the district’s budget is designated for employee salaries and benefits.
By not replacing four professional staff members and two administrators who are retiring or resigning, the district would save $589,843.73, according to the draft. An additional $199,477.72 would be saved by not renewing three professional staff members.
Reducing the district’s coaching staff and eliminating positions on above pay scale would account for a savings of $8,800.00. Positions affected would include intramurals head, intramurals assistant, middle school girls’ volleyball assistant, middle school girls’ basketball assistant, middle school boys’ basketball assistant, baseball assistant, and musical accompanist, the draft said.
Closing the swimming pool for the 2021-2022 school year and dropping the district’s swim program would save $22,100.00, according to the draft. The girls’ and boys’ swim coach positions would each be eliminated. The savings from eliminating those positions would be included in the $8,800.00 described in the paragraph above.
A pay freeze for all staff for the upcoming school year would cut $310,000.00 from the budget.
According to the draft, the district would only pay for the first 100 miles for non-conference away events, and one theater production would be eliminated.
The school building would be closed during weekends, and no outside activities would be allowed without payment for custodial services. Eliminating two weekend custodial part-time positions would save $2,354.20. Cutting two summer painter positions would account for an additional $9,500.00, and eliminating a part-time daily custodian position would save $15,000.00.
According to the draft, the implementation of a four-day in-person, one-day remote schedule for the duration of the 2021-2022 school year would save $161,218.40. The elimination of one bus route would account for $50,000.00 in savings.
The district would also discontinue its membership in the Reading Recovery Consortium for one year, which would save $7,500.
April 2022 referendum likely
Reynolds said the district will “need to try again” on another referendum in April 2022.
“Our needs are not going away,” he stated. “If the next referendum fails, even deeper cuts will be necessary in 2022-2023. None of these possible cuts are in the best interest of our students or community. Each loss in personnel impacts programs and the quality of education which is expected for the School District of Tomahawk. Unfortunately, the School Board has some very difficult decisions ahead of them.”