• State cuts funding
by $2.6 million for 2 years
• Current enrollment declines by 150 pupils
• District voters may see tax issue in March
By JANIE SOUTHARD
State budget cuts and declining enrollment will put Celina City
Schools back on the ballot for additional money, probably in
The state-required five-year financial forecast, approved by
the board of education Monday night, reflects a $2.5 million
deficit in fiscal year 2005, which increases to a $6.9 million
deficit by fiscal year 2006.
Superintendent Fred Wiswell said although the district has made
budget reductions of more than $1 million during the past two
years and the salary freeze on certified and classified staff
for the current contract year will save the district another
$300,000, it’s just not enough.
State budget cuts of $160,000 last year and another $2.6 million
during the next two years plus the loss of more than $150,000
due to the loss of 150 students this year combine for a grim
Wiswell predicted these cuts and losses have the potential to
“decimate the district.”
“The public generously stepped up last May and passed
two levies, however, neither was an increase in funding. The
district has not asked for additional local dollars since 1997,”
the superintendent said.
Wiswell, Treasurer Mike Marbaugh and Business Manager Mike McKirnan
have begun work on several funding options, which they will
discuss with the board in a special work session on Nov. 17
at 6 p.m. in the Celina Education Complex conference room.
Board members accepted the resignation of Michael Bullock, the
Head Start preschool bus driver who failed a random drug test
and was terminated by the board at a special board meeting last
The Bullock termination is the subject of a civil lawsuit filed
in September by the board against the Ohio Association of Public
School Employees Local 457, after that union of classified employees
filed a grievance over the termination.
The local union’s grievance states the termination violated
two stipulated articles in the negotiated agreement between
the union and the school board. One agreement article states
a written warning before termination is required, and the second
says drug use or possession cannot occur “in the workplace.”
Bullock had said he failed the testing due to substances he
used during the weekend, not while driving bus.
The path to Bullock’s resignation began Nov. 4, 2002,
when he tested positive for marijuana in a random drug test.
Shortly thereafter, board members fired Bullock and then the
union brought in an arbitrator who determined Bullock should
be reinstated as a bus driver and said the board had no just
cause to fire him.
The civil lawsuit filed by the board’s attorneys requests
that the arbitrator’s decision be vacated. That suit is
Upon accepting Bullock’s resignation at Monday night’s
meeting, board member Matt Gilmore ascertained from McKirnan
that there are “no strings attached to his resignation.”
He was referring to Bullock wanting back pay, and McKirnan this
morning said Bullock no longer was making that request.
Another resignation accepted by the board is that of middle
school teacher and former district Superintendent Hank G. Smith,
who plans to retire at the end of the school year.
In May 2001, Smith’s resignation as district superintendent,
negotiated through his attorney, came with an agreement that
he would serve as a teacher and still collect his superintendent’s
salary — $290,000 during a three-year period.
Since he stepped down in May 2001, Smith has served as a teacher
at Celina Middle School. His salary this year is $98,942.
Board President Cindy Piper said the board appreciates Smith
“letting the board know early his plans to retire.”