ADA - What has been in the work for several months, has now become official. The Ada Exempted Village Schools Board of Education has approved an additional income tax levy for the May 7 election. The final resolution needed to move ahead with the levy was approved during the Jan. 10 regular Board of Education meeting.

The district will be asking tax payers for a .75% income tax increase to last seven years. This news comes as no surprise considering the recent loss of almost $1.3 million in state funding, including $577, 903 taken by the state for "Fiscal Stabilization" funding, and $241,155 from the discontinued Education Jobs Grant.

Unfortunately, the increased tax revenue will not fix all of the district's financial woes. The meeting took a very somber note as district Treasurer Christy Beaschler introduced the first wave of cost cutting measures that the board has agreed must be taken in addition to the increase in income tax. Beaschler, visibly shaken and choked up at the prospect of making cuts, read part of the list but was overcome with emotion and unable to continue. Several board members were also moved by the cuts they have been forced to make.

Included in the cost cutting measures are cuts to supplemental positions, including department and grade chairs; an adjustment in the contract with the Hardin County ESC; a reduction in bus drivers; a reduction in K-12 field trips; and a reduction in general fund dollars spent on professional development. The board will also be reviewing utility costs, supply costs, and others as determined.

The board members do not take any of these actions lightly. Cuts into instruction are "very hard to swallow," especially considering the success of the district on the most recent school report card. Superintendent Darmer and the rest of the board members would like to assure the Ada community that the district is using their resources as economically as possible, and that they will continue to strive to reduce spending as much as possible.

Although the cuts already proposed will need to be made regardless of the passing of the tax levy, if the measure were to fail, increasingly drastic cuts would need to be made to balance the district's budget. This would be an unfortunate task for a school system that has seen so much success in student performance.