District Can Pay Teachers, But Maybe Not Bills

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - One of the state's largest school districts has promised to honor its teachers' new contract, even if it makes the district go broke.

The Akron Board of Education approved a new contract that would raise teacher salaries by more than 10 percent over three years. The deal expires in 2005.

But according to a financial forecast released by the district, there will be a deficit of more than $15 million by 2006. This is despite job cuts that will eliminate 47 teachers, four assistant principals, three guidance counselors, and a deputy superintendent. More cuts are planned for 2004 and 2005.

Voters had approved a nearly $9-million operating levy last November. But enrollment in the district is declining, along with the per-pupil funding provided by the state.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)