Following state funding cuts this past spring due to the pandemic, combined with a tight budget before the cuts and the potential for further reductions this fiscal year, the Madison Local School District is facing a critical juncture in funding and the quality of what is able to be provided to our 3,058 students. At the end of this fiscal year, the district will have $45,000 to start the next year; this represents 1.5 hours of cash reserves -- yet best practices say that a school district should not operate without 3 months of cash in the bank. Without mitigation, in FY25, the Madison Local School District faces a $13 million deficit on a current budget of $30 million.
The Madison Local School District is the 21st lowest district for per pupil funding out of over 600 districts in the state. In the past 31 years, the district has regularly reduced programs and services to meet budget requirements, particularly in the area of staffing. In February of this year, Madison eliminated staff through attrition and a reduction in force. Administration, maintenance, and custodial is at the lowest possible level, the district no longer has a librarian/media specialist, and 16 teachers have been reduced since 2002. High school students no longer have the option of French and German or any business classes, and students at the middle school now only receive 45 minutes of instruction in English Language Arts, when they initially had 90 minutes.
Madison Schools is doing the best possible with the resources available, which has been confirmed by two performance audits conducted by the state in the last ten years. The district is lucky to have individuals who are dedicated to the education of its students and willing to find creative solutions to maintain the quality of education.
Angela Smith has been the Superintendent for the past five years and an administrator for eighteen. “We have never been a district flush with resources,” she says, “Yet we have teachers, support staff, and administrators who put their heart and soul into ensuring our students receive the best education possible.”
This is why Superintendent Smith has reached out to Governor DeWine for a meeting. She states, “We aren’t asking for a free ride -- we will continue to tighten our belts, but we do not want the circulation to be cut off completely.” The goal of this meeting is to share the district’s situation and discuss options for moving forward.