At a three-hour Great Valley School Board work session held at the high school Monday night, superintendent Alan Lonoconus laid out a list of proposed cuts for the 2012-13 school year. The far-reaching reductions, selected by the administration with the board's guidance, totaled $1.8 million. The superintendent's presentation also touched briefly on major changes in 2013-14 and beyond.
Click through the slide show above to see where the proposed cuts currently fall.
The deep reductions, aimed at narrowing a $5.6 budget gap for the year, were crafted to preserve the district's stated core education programs: math, reading and science.
Lonoconus said, "We've cut $11 million over the last three years. That was all everything else. Now we're getting to programs, personnel, and it's going to be directly affecting students. That's where we are."
There was strong resistance from board members and the public to some items being included on the chopping block, most notably:
- 7th and 9th grade sports
- winter track and swimming
- social workers
- elementary school music lessons
Several members of the swim and indoor track teams voiced support for their sport during the public comments portion, including Ned Willig, who was recently named state champion in the indoor mile. Senior Aidan Cunniffe, also a runner, presented the board with 40 pages of testimony from students and alumni in support of the track program.
Lonoconus said the proposed removal of music lessons in the elementary school bothered him the most of all the reductions.
Board member Andrew Daga said he favored making bold, creative changes over what he deemed the task of "managing the decline of our school district." His sentiments echoed those of board member Bruce Chambers, who later suggested that a proposal to reorganize the middle school academic day in 2013-2014 be implemented one year earlier. The change would eliminate one period per day for middle school students, for a projected savings of $600,000. Administrators warned that too sudden a change could be disruptive and difficult to implement.
At its January meeting, the school board passed a preliminary budget of $79,175,000 for 2012-13, which included a 2.4 percent tax increase over the previous year. The resultant revenue shortfall was reduced to $1,478,767 by drawing on $3.8 million in reserve funds. In February, 2012-13 budget projection had grown to an even $79.5 million.
The board will vote on a final budget June 4. The next school board meeting will be held March 19.