By JANIE SOUTHARD
If Celina City Schools’ 7.9-mill operating levy fails
in March, at least 30 district jobs, including 20 teaching positions,
and all extracurricular activities would be eliminated beginning
with the 2004-05 school year.
Steve Paulus, one of about 125 people at Thursday’s special
school board meeting, questioned the possibility of some type
of volunteer-based plan to keep certain extracurriculars going.
Although Superintendent Fred Wiswell said he would “welcome
a responsible plan from anyone” to keep extracurriculars
beyond next year, he added after next year “there is no
plan concerning extracurriculars.”
Board members Mary Lehman and Ken Fetters responded in no uncertain
“I absolutely will not vote to reinstate extracurriculars
until academics are also reinstated,” board President
In turn, Fetters said he would “keep academics any day
over sports” and also would not vote extracurriculars
back in on their own.
The audience member said following the meeting his concern is
that, without extracurriculars, many parents might withdraw
their children from the school system. Should that happen, he
speculated, the district would take a much bigger hit just in
lost state (per pupil) funding
Board members have already approved a budget reduction plan.
Part One of the cuts, which reflects a savings of $790,300,
will be implemented regardless of the levy success. Levy failure
in March would trigger Part Two, a savings of $1,864,000, and
the loss of 15 teaching positions, reduction of classified staff
and will leave the Opportunity School budget with a meager $20,000,
down from $220,000.
The board has vowed not to go back to the polls until November
should the levy fail.
The special meeting was called for the purpose of organizing
the levy campaign which will be headed up by Robin Elston as
consultant/campaign chairperson. Amy Wade will serve as campaign
“When I heard the school was going for another levy just
10 months after we passed two (levies), I thought ‘they’ve
got to be kidding. How can we ask people for more money they
don’t have?’” Elston told the audience.
However, after a lengthy meeting with district administrators
and reviewing financial information, Elston said she understands
the district’s position.
“It was not mismanagement that landed us in this position.
It’s a series of circumstances we could not anticipate.
And, we’ve got to get this message to the voters,”
Elston told The Daily Standard this morning that $2,500 was
pledged at the meeting which will be added to the $1,679 left
from the last campaign. Target amount for the 32-day campaign
Committee chairs include: Julie Berry, Literature and Media;
Jim Miller, Larry Stelzer and Ann Esselstein, Business Support
and Finance; Kim Smith and Wendy Mitchel-Payne, Student Activities;
Ginny Remmington, Cheryl Braun and Lana Hinders, Door to Door;
Mary Lehman and Fred Wiswell, Board and Central Office.
Levy committees will meet Monday at 6 p.m. in the high school
lecture hall or the cafeteria.