Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links

Issue Index

02-22-04: St. Marys levy would pay school operating costs


ST. MARYS — St. Marys City Schools residents will vote on a five-year, 7.9-mill emergency property tax levy in the March 2 election.
The levy, which would generate approximately $1.8 million per year based on current property values, is to be used for operating expenses only and will keep the school from making $5.1 million in cuts for the 2004-2005 school year. If passed, the levy will expire in five years.
The school has already made $3.6 million in budget reductions, most of which were made in January. The reductions include the closing of Moulton Elementary School.
A committee of local citizens are crusading to educate residents about the levy and why it is needed. It has included door-to-door circulation of information and a call-in question and answer show on local cable access yesterday.
The new ballot proposal comes on the heels of a 1 percent income tax levy which would have generated about $2.1 million per year but was handily defeated in November.
“I think people have a greater realization of the seriousness this time than they did in the last election,” Superintendent Paul Blaine said. “I think people are more aware.”
Transportation cuts, which would involve no busing of students within a two-mile radius of their school, would save the school about $1.4 million per year. That is the largest savings of any of the proposed cuts. The transportation cut would affect 1,150 students currently eligible to ride buses.
Other cuts the school board said they will have to make include the closing of Noble Elementary School, further reductions in elementary aides and staff, switching to a preferred provider organization for health insurance, the reduction of an extra period of art/music/physical education, cuts in consumer science and industrial arts, indefinite elimination of field trips, elimination of junior high intramural. Six assistant coaching positions would be eliminated, and the academy program would be dropped. Position cuts will be based on seniority. School officials said position cuts would represent approximately 11.5 teaching positions and an additional 11.5 supportive staff positions.
Cuts made include the closing of Moulton Elementary School, which saved the school an estimated $1.2 million, or about a third of the money saved. Also cut were five elementary aides, 1.5 library personnel, 1.5 teachers and a half-time secretary. Summer student workers were reduced in half to eight. Classroom cleaning time was cut to every other day. The administrative staff took a voluntary pay freeze which will save $167,000. Other cuts include an optional preferred provider organization health benefit program, eliminating the district newsletter, turf maintenance and transportation to West School for high school football practice, and an assumed savings in the superintendent’s salary due to the announced retirement of Blaine was counted as part of the first round of cuts. These cuts take effect July 1.
All of the cuts were based on maintaining an average true days cash value of 40 days. True days cash is the amount it takes to run the school for a day.
In spite of the failure of the levy proposals in November, school officials feel the March levy has a good chance of passing this time.
“Most of what I am hearing is reasonably optimistic,” Blaine said. “I think people understand that the board is very sincere in its intent to implement the cuts in its reduction plan.
Blaine said no timetables were attached to the approved cuts and some of the programs or positions could eventually be restored when the district’s financial situation improved.


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


L10 Web Stats Reporter 3.15 LevelTen Hit Counter - Free Web Counters
LevelTen Web Design Company - Website Development, Flash & Graphic Designers