Field School Distrct Cuts Programs to Stop Budget Shortfall

Field Local School district is coping with loss of school funding by cutting busing, personnel and instituting pay to participate fees. Beth Coleman, the superintendent of Field Local Schools said the cuts and fees were necessary since the loss of state funding.

“There’s a few reasons that we’re facing cuts, One reason is in 2004, the Tangible Personal Property tax (A tax based on business inventory) was phased out,” Coleman said. “For us, it meant a cut in $1.2 million a year since 2004. Then the state cut our funding between 2011 and 2013 by a little over $800,000.”

The large cuts in funding have forced Field to cut busing to the required state minimum. Coleman said that many people in the district have been affected by these polices.

“We’ve already cut busing to state minimum,” Coleman said. “No high-school students get bussed. Anyone inside 2 miles of any of our schools does not get bussed, that’s a lot of kids. We’ve cut 28 bus routes down to 14.”

It is not just bussing that has been changed. If a Field student plays a sport, they have to pay to play. Coleman said that the fee for a student to participate is $300.00 Field High School Principal Mike Harris said that the pay to play fee has increased the strain on families, especially those with multiple children who participate in sports.

“There are some families that have spent 2,000 to participate in sports,” Harris said. “$2,ooo is the cap, still, that is $2,000 out of your pocket.

Coleman said that the district had cut over 20 positions in the past five years to help offset the costs, but said these cuts in positions have led to fewer electives and increased class sizes.

According to a Field Local Schools State of the District report, the district has tried to save money in the past two years by not replacing five retired teachers, a librarian and a counselor. The report also said that further cuts might be necessary with continued levy failure.

Coleman said passing the upcoming Levy will be the only way to avoid state takeover, and is hopeful of this levy, despite the failing of the previous levy.

“We’ve closed the gap each time. I always have hope, we will continue asking until it passes or we will go into state takeover.”