Dear Parents and Community, As you know, the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District Board and Education and administration have been working diligently on our financial future. In May of 2017, the community supported an 8.9 combined bond and operating levy committing that we would construct a new Chagrin Falls Intermediate School and not return to the community for additional millage for operations for three years. Initial planning has been ongoing throughout the year and the Board was preparing to present a 7.9 mill operating levy next school year for consideration by our community.
COVID-19 has impacted all of us personally and professionally. There is no question that the economic impact is and will continue to be significant. Due to this fact, we have been working diligently to reduce the necessary millage to continue operations without substantial impact on our students. We have implemented a variety of cost reductions this year to achieve this goal. These include the following:
On May 6, Governor DeWine announced that it was necessary to cut $330 million from the state education fund for this fiscal year to balance the budget. Instead of implementing a consistent reduction for all schools in the state of Ohio, he has implemented a reduction based on a capacity measure. The underlying assumption in this model is that districts with higher property value can afford to absorb more of the reduction. School districts throughout the state were reduced from .7% to 55% in funding. We received a 32% reduction from the state of Ohio equating to $534,000 in this fiscal year that ends June 30.
We will have to send a check back to the state of Ohio due to the timing of this reduction. Although there are a lot of unknowns, we believe that this reduction will likely carry over into next year. This has created an immediate budget deficit. Due to the most recent guidance from the state of Ohio regarding the return to school, I made the recommendation to the Chagrin Falls Board of Education that we not collect full-day kindergarten tuition at this time. With a scheduled return to school likely taking place under a restrictive environment, it is not feasible that we will delineate a full vs. half-day program. This equates to another $260,000 in lost revenue. If we are able to return to a normal schedule at some point tuition would be prorated. Lastly, we are facing a tremendous number of unknown financial liabilities regarding the return to school. These include transporting students with social distancing requirements, increased sanitation requirements, hand sanitizer, alternative furniture, screening and technology to provide increased live stream, virtual instruction. These are unprecedented times for our country. This also applies to our School District in terms of finances. We are not in a typical scenario in which we can bring a levy forward and make reductions if it is not successful. It is our opinion that it is necessary to be as proactive as possible.
We are faced with the need for immediate reductions to provide fiscal solvency during this time of uncertainty. The following reductions are currently under consideration over the next three years. Action in FY 2020 will have to be taken prior to June 1 due to time restrictions within labor agreements.
The Board of Education has worked diligently to minimize the impact on the quality of our District and has pushed our team to be extremely creative in retaining staff members. We have created a path to accomplishing all of these reductions without having to reduce our current teaching staff. This is possible through attrition of staff leaving and reductions of positions outside of the classroom. However, this is a sad time as we will be losing valuable members of our team that provide important services to the District. We take this very seriously. The anticipated savings from a long list of reductions help us offset the budgetary shortfall as we know them today. However, as we believe it to be important to be honest and transparent, there will have to be further reductions in the future even with a successful levy passage assuming a lower millage will be brought forward to the community. Please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.
Sincerely, Robert W. Hunt, Ph.D.Superintendent
Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools
Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools