By BETTY LAWRENCE
MENDON — After talking about ways to trim a downward spiraling
budget, Parkway Local Schools Superintendent Doug Karst asked
board members to consider placing a renewal of the 1.5-mill
permanent improvement levy on the ballot in March.
The current 1.5-mill levy was approved in 1999 and generates
about $100,000 annually. It expires at the end of 2004.
“This levy has been very good for us. It has helped us
purchase the land that the new school is being built on and
with equipment purchases,” Karst told board members who
met Tuesday night.
Karst only talked about renewing the current levy, but the district’s
financial forecast shows the system may need additional millage
in the future.
The five-year financial forecast, which the state requires each
school district to create, was presented and approved by board
members at the meeting.
The forecast shows the district’s overall budget balanced
at $1.4 million in 2004 and then it begins to drop to $592,216
in 2005, a negative $118,720 in 2006, a negative $844,608 in
2007 and a negative $1.6 million in 2008.
“Figures show we are overspending our revenue this year
and our cash balance will take us up through 2006, but we need
to start looking at ways to save money now,” district
Treasurer Tammy Muhlenkamp told board members.
Muhlenkamp pointed out that an advertisement in the Photo Star
that said the school would be operating at a $2 million deficit
in fiscal year 2007 was incorrect and misleading.
“That figure was not right. The revenue from replacement
and renewal levies was not taken into consideration,”
she told the board.
State cuts are taking their toll on the school’s financing,
she said, along with skyrocketing insurance costs. Several local
school districts also have been faced with the same problems
and already have put increased or new levies on the ballot,
such as at Marion Local, St. Henry and New Bremen.
“All these things eventually add up,” Muhlenkamp
said. “But remember, this forecast is only a planning
tool. By trimming costs, we intend to not be operating at a
deficit by 2007.”
Karst and Muhlenkamp said they have been meeting to discuss
“We are all very concerned about the financing and we’ll
be looking at expenditures closely and at ways to save the school
district money,” Karst said.
The forecast says school staff may be eliminated through retirement
or a reduction in force to cut costs, and as a last resort,
“the district also may need to look at placing additional
millage on the ballot instead of renewing existing levies.”
Board member Jeff Long asked that the board be kept informed
on cost-cutting measures.
The spending diet is being undertaken in the wake of the looming
construction project of the district’s new educational
Parkway school district voters approved an 8.8-mill levy last
year that set the stage for the project, to be completed in
2006. The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) is contributing
$24 million toward the $35.75 million total construction project,
with taxpayers covering the remaining $11.75 million through
In other action, board members:
• Passed a resolution in support of the levy renewal that
Vantage Career Center is asking for at the November election.
The 0.8-mill five-year operating levy generates approximately
$550,000 for the school district, he said.
• Extended the current contract two additional years for
Karst and elementary Principal Michelle Duncan. The contracts
would have expired at the end of this school year.
• Authorized an overnight field trip for the FCCLA members
to attend cluster meetings in Cincinnati Nov. 14-16.
• Issued a limited contract for the remainder of the school
year to Ann Vian as a half-time teacher.
• Offered a third medical insurance plan to qualifying
employees. The plan is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
that is available through the Mercer Auglaize Employee Benefit
• Accepted the resignation of Matt Fisher as boys head
• Issued supplemental contracts to personnel who will
be serving as mentor teachers and also issued a supplemental
contract to Michelle Duncan as lead mentor and mentor program
• Approved Becky Shope as volunteer assistant to the high
school cheerleading program.
• Hired Greg Slusher as eighth-grade boys basketball coach.
• Hired Michael Schumm as high school girls assistant