School cost cutters: Little changes add up to big savings

A number of minor changes have added up to some big savings for Wapakoneta City Schools, the district’s superintendent says.

Through the first eight months of the school’s fiscal year, Wapakoneta City Schools administrators have managed to save a million dollars from what the district spent a year ago this time, Superintendent Keith Horner said.

The information was made public during a recent school Finance Committee meeting.

“It’s due to multiple things we’ve done,” Horner said of the savings.

Specifically, Horner cited all employees paying more into health insurance, reductions in staff, and the district completing its requirements to pay retirement incentives offered years ago.

“We’ve reduced our budget, reduced our supplementals, and we’re beginning to see the results of that,” Horner said. “We’ve gained some efficiencies with how we operate, and with the building project we can use people in a more efficient manner.”

The new buildings also can be run more efficiently, said Horner, who noted a mild winter also allowed the district to save money.

“Mike Watt (the district’s operations director) and the maintenance staff are all very conscientious with all our utilities,” Horner said about energy conservation efforts.

He said utility costs in the district have been decreased by $141,000.

“We continue to be more efficient,” Horner said.

He said they are hoping the savings continue to add up by the end of the fiscal year at the end of July and are anticipating even more savings in the future.

At the same time however, Horner said special education and health care costs continue to climb.

“So even with less staff, those costs continue to go up and our revenue is expected to be flat,” Horner said.

He thanked members of the Wapakoneta City Schools Board of Education for driving the initiative to continue to examine all costs.

“They are making tough decisions, which no one likes,” Horner said. “The employees are working hard as we are faced with fiscal responsibility.”