Bellaire Schools

TOUGH TIMES call for tough action. The Bellaire Local School District is experiencing the toughest of times.

As a result and to their credit, the Bellaire Board of Education and Superintendent Tony Scott are tackling the problem.

At issue is a projected $2.4 million deficit in the district’s general fund budget over the course of the next two years. A money shortfall of that magnitude is nothing short of catastrophic.

The board earlier this year implemented a plan to cut $650,000 from district operations. State education officials, however, were not satisfied and mandated further cutbacks.

With that said, Bellaire BOE members went back to the drawing board to avoid the district being placed into “fiscal emergency.” It is already in “fiscal watch.”

The Bellaire administration has now formulated a new reduction plan for state approval. The lion’s share of it consists of staffing reductions. The state had previously recommended the district lay off 24 staff members. That number included certified employees.

We commend the Bellaire school board for taking action to avoid losing control of its schools, a scenario that “fiscal emergency” brings with it. We are disappointed, however, that some two dozen people will be losing their jobs.

Moreover, we are concerned about the long-range viability of the district. The proposed cutbacks may get the district into the black for now, but more financial storms loom on the horizon.

The district is plagued by decreasing revenue as well as the continued increase in operating expenses. That may prove a lethal combination.

While Bellaire schools may have dodged the state’s “fiscal emergency” bullet for the time being, it may be hard pressed to do so in the coming years.