Six teachers cut in Howland to save money

HOWLAND — The Howland Board of Education has cut six teaching positions that will save the district approximately $360,000 annually.

However, depending on enrollment for the 2018-19 school year, some may be brought back.

Howland Local Schools Superintendent Kevin Spicher said Wednesday at the recent May board meeting the board voted to suspend the limited contracts of two elementary teachers, two middle school teachers and two high school teachers.

Spicher said depending on enrollment at the elementary level, especially kindergarten, a teacher or two may be brought back.

“We have to see what the enrollment will be for next year. We are looking at our kindergarten numbers,” he said.

He said in recent years, Howland has seen a decline in student enrollment — dropping from 3,000 students in the district more than five years ago to less than 2,600 students now. He said the cuts were planned whether a 5.9-mill, 10-year emergency operating levy passed or not in the May primary.

Spicher said the operating levy was the first passed by Howland in 15 years, and the cuts would have been deeper if the levy had failed. Securing additional operating funds will help prevent the district from falling into deficit spending, which would have placed it on the state’s fiscal caution list.

The levy will raise about $3.2 million per year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $206 per year in additional taxes. The district already has made more than $800,000 in cuts in the past two years, and Spicher said the district will still search for ways to save.

Howland was the last district in Trumbull County to implement all-day kindergarten. Spicher said the district saw an additional $326,000 in savings by implementing all-day kindergarten without hiring additional teachers.