Schools assess vote’s aftermath
Ohio voters were mostly willing to renew existing taxes for schools on Tuesday but far less agreeable to provide additional revenue for public education, paving the way for more teacher and staff layoffs and program cuts.
Overall, voters approved about half of the 187 levies on ballots across the state.
While the passage rate for levies seeking to extend existing taxes was a stunning 96 percent, voters approved less than a quarter of the 87 requests for new operating funds.
“The normal passage rate for new issues is 35 percent, so even in the best of times it’s tough, but 22 percent is a significant drop,” said Jerry Rampelt, executive director of Support Ohio Schools, a nonprofit research group in Columbus.
In the wake of Tuesday’s repeal of Senate Bill 5 through Issue 2, David Varda, director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, said, “Hopefully we learned that we all need to be together talking about these things as opposed to labor and management, because I don’t foresee that in the near future there is going to be a recovery in the economy that is going to yield the kind of revenues we will need.
“The biggest factor is what people can afford.”
Cuts, savings detailed as school budget reduction talks progress
The elimination of magnet schools, sports and clubs, and high school academic enrichment programs top a list of budget cuts planned for the Westerville City School District.
Those programs are currently set to be cut by the start of the 2012-13 school year, after voters rejected a levy request on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Board members will discuss the timeline for implementation of the cuts at the next regular school board meeting Monday, Dec. 19. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Westerville Central High School, 7118 Mount Royal Ave.
Other cuts, including busing reductions and the elimination of 62 employees, will go into effect immediately after Christmas break.
They are all part of a plan to slash the budget by $23 million.
Lorain Schools announces cuts: 27 to be laid off, more than $6M in cuts planned
LORAIN — Faced with bad or worse outcomes in eliminating a projected $12 million deficit, Lorain Schools interim Superintendent Ed Branham recommends splitting the difference.
Branham told Board of Education members Wednesday he’ll recommend next month that the school district go into fiscal emergency in February, cut between $6.1 million and $7.6 million and borrow from the Ohio Department of Education to eliminate the remainder for the 2012-13 school year deficit.
The alternative was eliminating the entire deficit through layoffs, program cuts and reductions which Branham said would “devastate” the district.
“It just cannot be done (without) pretty much closing the school district,” he said.
The cuts would be in addition to laying off 18 teachers and nine teachers’ aides, which was approved Wednesday night by board members and would save $1.5 million. The layoffs take effect Jan. 23.
MONROE — The Monroe Local School District has been placed under fiscal caution by the Ohio Department of Education.
The ODE, which told the district of the designation this week, said it typically takes four years to recover from the fiscal caution status.
The status will come into effect on Saturday, and going forward, the district has 30 to 60 days to develop a plan and report back to the ODE on how it will resolve the issue.
“I’s no one’s problem but ours,” Ken Ulm, the district’s interim treasurer said. “No one is going to hand us a checkbook to get us out of this. It’s our problem to fix it. There’s no new money coming in.”
Communities plan painful budget cuts in 2012
Many local communities are no longer merely trimming their budgets. They’re slashing them.
In some communities, the budget cuts mean fewer police patrol cars on the streets, longer ambulance response times and more pot-hole marred streets. In some, it means fewer park hours or cancellation of special events.
Upcoming state-imposed cuts in the estate tax, the local government fund, declining property values and a still-sluggish economic climate have forced some cities, villages and townships in the region to use hatchets instead of paring knives when reducing their budgets for 2012.