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Ross Local Schools announces financial shortfall, will make cuts

Big expenses, little revenue after state changes formula
ross local schools.jpg
Posted at 9:26 AM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 09:26:44-05

HAMILTON, Ohio — The Ross Local School District, one of Butler County’s most consistent and top performing districts, is facing a financial shortfall in a few years, according to school officials.

“After reviewing the November five-year forecast, our administrative team has made some very difficult decisions," the district said in a statement. "It is apparent that we are spending more money than we are receiving to the tune of approximately $1.7 million per year. This is mainly due to the state funding formula, as we saw a minimal increase in revenue, while expenses continue to rise. Last school year we saved $600,000 in personnel costs with staff who left the district and new hire replacements. This year, our goal is to save an additional $700,000 in personnel and purchased services reductions to help alleviate this deficit.”

Ross officials said the current cuts, and the newly planned cuts, won't be enough to get the district back on its budget.

“These cuts will not solve our problem," the statement said. "But they allow us to maintain a positive cash balance for a longer period of time. Our goal is to minimize the impact of reductions on the safety of our students and the learning environment."

The district has projected its operating budget deficit to be more than $1.1 million beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. Its annual operating budget is about $27 million.

In December, the Ohio Department of Education alerted Ross officials that based on its five-year forecast a “potential for deficit exists.”

The district said there had been false information on social media about the school's cuts.

“We are not cutting all of our security officers," the district said. "For the 2022-23 school year, we will have four experienced school security officers covering five buildings with three buildings on one campus.

Ross Superintendent Chad Konkle said despite the cuts, “we strive to continue our academic excellence.”

The 2,600-student district has consistently been one of Butler County’s top performers academically. Ross High School has regularly been cited in national publications as one of the best in southwest Ohio and among those statewide.

“Like many school districts in Ohio, we have some challenges ahead of us. I am asking for you to partner with us in learning the facts regarding our finances. We have established various venues to aid in this,” Konkle said, referring to more Ross budget information available to the public on the district’s website.

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