That's just in the short term. At the same meeting Tuesday night when the job cut plan was introduced, Superintendent John Reinhart also presented a five-year cost savings plan that included the possibility of closing at least one elementary school.
These discussions are happening in the shadow of two decades of tax increases for Easton area residents, three years of job cuts, and a future that shows the district dealing with more deficits.
"We have to come up with some bold ideas," Reinhart said. "We can’t sit and debate why we’re here and what brought us here and who brought us here. None of that is going to get us out of these circumstances.”
Budget figures show the district taking in a little more than $136 million for 2014/2015 but spending $141 million.
In order to close that gap, the district is considering a 2.7 percent tax increase, as well as cutting positions.
Those jobs include:
- Three instrumental music positions in grades 4-8. (This would essentially eliminate music instruction for those grades.)
- 18 high school and middle school positions.
- Four gifted/English as second language positions
- Seven positions in the intervention department
- Eight special education positions.
- 16 elementary positions
“It will be…I won’t say impossible, but it will be very difficult to convince me to vote for anything less than the referendum," board member Baron Vanderberg said. "Fifty-six cuts is a lot. More than I’d like to see."
Meanwhile, Reinhart outlined some measures he wants the district to explore over the next five years, including:
- Closing at least one elementary school.
- Looking at a pay-to-play system for sports and extracurricular activities.
- The future of the Easton Area Academy, which could potentially be moved into one of the closed elementary buildings.
- Selling the district administration building and surrounding property.
- Outsourcing some transportation and food service work.
- Advertising on district buses and buildings.
"If we go through the buildings, we realize some of the buildings have a lot of empty room, a lot of empty seats," he said.