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01-30-04: Jobs will be eliminated if Celina school levy fails


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 terms.
“I absolutely will not vote to reinstate extracurriculars until academics are also reinstated,” board President Lehman said.
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 treasurer.
“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,” she said.
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 is $9,000.
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.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822


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