London City Schools is looking at a potential budget deficit of $750,000 to $800,000 by June 2019 and board of education member Marv Homan is concerned about the district’s financial future.
While cash reserves will take care of that 2019 shortfall, Homan told fellow board members at their Dec. 11 meeting the district cannot keep spending more than it takes in.
“We may need to go for ‘new money’ in the future if we keep trending toward deficit spending,” Homan said.
He referred to a possible increase in the 1 percent income tax that currently supports London schools.
He suggested the district begin implementing cost-cutting now – specifically in its five-year plan – so critics can’t say no effort was made to keep spending in hand.
“Let’s address things now and begin a dialogue on how to cut programs,” he urged board members and administrators.
Homan recalled the financial crisis faced by the district seven years ago and the difficulty encountered in passing an additional tax levy.
“It sucked. It was terrible. And you can quote me on that,” he said. “We can’t hang our hat on passing a new levy (in three or four years).”
Finances were not the only issue on Homan’s mind at the Dec. 11 school board meeting. He questioned administrators and fellow board members about revisions to the 2019-20 academic calendar.
“Why do we start (classes) so early (in the year)?” he asked.
Homan said community feedback suggests shortening spring break and delaying the start of classes in the fall until after Labor Day.
Superintendent Lou Kramer said a variety of factors must be considered before altering the calendar – specifically the timing of mid-year exams. Kramer said those exams are generally administered prior to Christmas break. For that reason, classes must start in August.
“Everybody comes at it at a different perspective,” commented board member Ed Maynor.
Kramer promised to provide feedback on the issue at the next school board meeting, set for Jan. 8.
In other routine meeting business on Dec. 11, board members:
• Approved a lease with Cypress Church for use of the high school auditorium during the 2019 calendar year. The lease will generate $60,000 for the district.
• Approved an overnight trip for the high school wrestling team on Jan. 25, 2019. The team will participate in a tournament at Marion Pleasant High School that day. The overnight stay may or may not be necessary, Kramer said.
• Accepted a $1,200 donation from the London Music Boosters to cover the cost of a choreographer for the high school spring musical.