School board approves roughly $2.4 million in budget cuts
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – The School District of Tomahawk’s Board of Education voted to approve numerous budget cuts during its virtual meeting on Thursday, April 29.
The meeting was originally slated to be held on Tuesday, April 27, but the board chose to cancel it shortly before it began when several members of the public in attendance refused to wear masks. According to district policy, all students, staff and visitors must wear a mask on campus. The policy has been in place since the beginning of the school year.
Although no action was taken on the district’s mask policy, several members of the public utilized the meeting’s public comment period to speak out against mandating the use of face coverings on campus.
Other speakers used their time to express support for the policy and to explain the potential impact budget cuts could have on programming.
Board approves budget cuts
The spending cuts given the green light by the board come less than a month after voters narrowly rejected the district’s referendum requesting $3.25 million per year for four years.
District Administrator Terry Reynolds walked the board through his 2021-2022 school year budget adjustment recommendations during the roughly two-hour meeting, which account for $2,372,561.45 in savings.
The district will not replace four professional staff and two administrators who are retiring or resigning, saving $589,843.73.
The non-renewal of three professional staff will eliminate $199,477.72 in spending.
A salary freeze for all staff for the 2021-2022 school year will cut $310,000.00 from the district’s budget.
The elimination of one full bus route will save $50,000.00.
“Internal budget cuts” will account for $63,000.00.
The district will also spend $1,160,240.00 out of the Fund 10 balance.
Reynolds on April 13 presented the board with a longer list of potential cuts. Among them was closing the pool, cutting the district’s swim program, scrapping one drama department production, eliminating numerous sports assistant positions, and switching to a four-day in-person, one-day remote schedule for the 2021-2022 school year. Those items were not presented or acted on at last week’s meeting.