By DAVID GREEN
State funding for education has already taken a downward turn in Ohio, said Fayette school superintendent Russell Griggs, and it’s likely to get much worse.
Griggs girded board of education members at the Nov. 17 meeting with the news that tough financial conditions lay ahead.
State revenue has fallen $175 million below projections, he said, and indications point to worsening conditions.
“There’s talk in Columbus about cuts,” he said. “They’ve already made some cuts, but not directly related to the classroom.”
That would be the next step and he’s heard talk of a five percent reduction in state aid. For Fayette, that means a cut of at least $110,000—for the current year.
That would be exceptionally challenging, he said, because staff members have been hired and programs are in place.
“We’ll have to look at our operations and be proactive over the next few months,” Griggs said. “We’ll be taking a very serious look.”
The district’s projected deficit could increase to $400,000 for the current school year, taking a big bite out of the reserve cash.
As a veteran administrator, Griggs has seen similar situations in the past, notably the early 1980s.
Griggs said he wants district residents to be aware of the upcoming problems. He and other administrators need to begin looking for ways to trim spending.
DELAY—Demolition of the old school buildings was delayed after additional asbestos was found in both buildings. This will add two or three weeks to the completion of the project.
In addition, a buried fuel oil tank was found at the Franklin property and an additional water well needed capping on the high school property.
The delay works toward Armstrong Excavating’s goal of recycling as much material as possible, Griggs said. The company estimates that only about 10 percent of the demolition material will end up in a landfill.
TURBINE—Griggs continues to explore the purchase of a wind turbine to lower the school’s utility costs. Leftover funds from the building project could be used, along with a grant. He estimates the cost at between $800,000 and $900,000.
SNOW REMOVAL—Chris Johnson was awarded a three-year contract for snow removal. His low bid of $270 per cleaning was $30 below the next lowest bid from Doug Eisel.
Steve Snider, head of maintenance, said he was pleased working with Eisel over recent years. Eisel pointed out that he did minor clearing several times last season without any charge, so his bid might become closer to the low bid.
The board voted to accept the low bid from Johnson.
LIBRARY—Debra Rupp was appointed to a seven-year term on the Normal Memorial Library board of directors.
STAFF—Lisa Hintz was hired to serve as an intervention teacher for grades seven through 12.
She did an excellent job last year, Griggs said, and he believes her assistance made a positive difference on state testing scores.