Hazelwood School District speaks on controversial budget cuts - KMOV.com

Hazelwood School District speaks on controversial budget cuts

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV

A new deal with the Hazelwood School District will now save dozens of jobs as the district faces a massive budget shortfall.

The custodial staff voted to cut their hours from an 8-hour workday to a 7-day workday.

“Everyone will take a little less but it will save about 33 custodial positions,” explained Dwight Lindhorst, the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Facilities.

After weeks of requesting an interview, News 4 sat down with the district on Tuesday to discuss recent budget cuts.

The district admitted it could have done a better job relaying information to parents when it passed a series of cuts in February.

“We thought we communicated well enough and looking back I think we could have done a better job,” said Lindhorst.

The district is facing a $15 million budget shortfall.  Announced cuts to jobs, PE and some music programs sent shock waves through the Hazelwood community.

Parents have formed a committee to come up with solutions to keep the band and orchestra programs intact at the elementary school level. But the district says it does not believe any other cuts will be reconsidered.

“At this point we have to balance our budget so we have to have some of those cost savings and this is just the beginning,” said Lindhorst.

The district still has $6 million to cut. Those will take effect in the 2017-2018 school year and could include job cuts and more reductions to programs.

Lindhorst also said though they will look at more cuts to the central office, they do hope to involve the community more when discussing the next round of cuts.

The district said it would not begin the discussions until after a new superintendent is hired, which is set to happen in April. The budget meetings would then begin after that.

The district also said a tax hike is not off the table, but they want to make as many reductions as possible before resorting to a tax increase.

“To make up the budget shortfall before reductions, we would have to increase 83 cents and frankly we're one of the highest tax rates in the county and in the state,” said Lindhorst.

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