We'll know soon what final budget cuts Akron school superintendent David James will recommend to close a 22-million dollar budget gap.
James told school board members at Monday night's meeting that he'll present them with the final part of the cuts package at the next meeting on May 7th.
But that gap could grow. District treasurer Jack Pierson told board members that property tax collection rates are lagging.
And school board president Jason Haas says that could mean millions less going to Akron schools.
"It's going to cause our collections to be lower based on payment rates, there's never 100% payment," Haas tells AkronNewsNow.com, "so we anticipate, but we're not sure yet, that the July through December collections may be as much as $4 million short of original projection."
The collection problem is especially severe for commercial/industrial taxes.
Haas says he hopes the rates improve and narrow those numbers down.
"The greater the payments are on property taxes, both residential and commercial/industrial, the less that's going to impact us," Haas said, "but it is something we're going to have to take into consideration over the next few months."
Haas tells AkronNewsNow.com that superintendent James is finalizing his plan to close the district's budget gap.
"He's been working with his departmental chairs and with the treasurer's office to get a plan in place to address the budget deficit in this upcoming first year," Haas says, "but also looking forward to having sustainable and lasting cuts."
The superintendent has already recommended some $14 million in cuts, on the way towards closing what has been a $22 million budget gap.
Meanwhile, as district officials mull the final pieces of their budget cut puzzle, some teachers and parents are hoping to save programs that could be on the chopping block.
Music teacher Alissa Fullen is concerned that elementary school instrumental music programs could be affected.
Fullen told school board members Monday night that those programs help students by giving them opportunities they won't get in classes like math, English, science and social studies...
"We provide an extracurricular component that these classes do not provide," Fullen tells AkronNewsNow.com. "Students get to do things outside of the school day like concerts. We do a lot of things with transitioning kids from elementary to middle, or middle school to high school by doing cluster concerts."
Fullen tells AkronNewsNow that reducing instrumental music at the elementary school level could mean a serious drop in music class participation in later grades.
"The studies have shown that the reduction within four years will be at 65 percent less, and that's at the secondary level," Fullen says, "so that's not just going to impact our elementary kids, it's going to impact the whole school system."
She proposes that instrumental music can be taught within elementary school music programs as opposed to being an extra component.
Fullen is a music teacher in the APS Garfield cluster.