Lake Local School officials approve drastic cuts with heavy hearts

The Lake Local School Board addresses a packed house at Lake Middle School.

After learning they had lost a second attempt at passing a levy, last fall, the school board unanimously approved numerous cuts.

"It's certainly a detriment to our students," Lake Local Schools Superintendent Jim Witt said.

Tough decisions that school officials maintain were a last resort, but necessary because of the over $1 million in state and federal funding losses.

During Wednesdayâ??s school board meeting, attended by nearly 100 residents and concerned citizens, each Lake Local School Board member expressed their regret and sadness on the decision.

"May God have mercy on us," school board president Tim Krugh said before the board voted.

Among the cost saving measures, a decision to close Walbridge Elementary and lay off numerous workers including 8 teachers, 17 other employees, and over a dozen assistant coaches.

"It's not a choice anyone wanted to make but when you are forced into a corner with no money it's a choice you have to make," former Lake Local Schools board member Margene Akenberger said.

Among those laid off, 24-year-old Brooke Schulte who will lose her job teaching the second grade at the end of the school year but is taking the news in stride.

"We have to support our district and they are going to do whatever they can for the students. It's unfortunate but there is no way I could be mad at them about it," Schulte said.

An understanding of the Boardâ??s decision was shared by others at the meeting but not by all.

Several parents with children that had planned to enroll in the districtâ??s full day of kindergarten expressed disappointment with a decision to cut that program as well.

The Board maintains they looked at all available options before deciding what would be cut.

They say their focus now is turned to the levy scheduled to go before voters in August.

"If there comes a time where another round of cuts need to be made, it's really going to be deep," Witt said.

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