East Cleveland schools propose laying off 70 teachers

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) - The city's school superintendent has proposed laying off 70 teachers and 10 administrators to avoid financial collapse.
Superintendent Elvin Jones also suggested cutting 30 clerical and maintenance jobs, scaling back busing, dropping some assistant coaches and possibly closing one of six elementary schools.
"The district has fallen on trying financial times," he told administrators during a briefing Wednesday.
Jones wants to cut spending by $5.2 million to $6.2 million. The district projects a $6.5 million loss this school year and could have trouble meeting payroll by late March.
Officials hope for an advance on state aid but must produce a cost-cutting plan to get the money. School officials want the state to declare the district in a fiscal emergency.
If that happens, the Ohio Department of Education would appoint a commission to manage the school system's finances.
The proposed layoffs would amount to 15 percent of the
5,200-student district's 425 teachers and 20 percent of its 45 administrators.
Officials blame $7 million in unpaid property taxes and a 21 percent plunge in enrollment over the last five years for the financial troubles. Enrollment determines state aid.
The urban district has not asked voters to increase property taxes for operating expenses for 13 years.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)