Fayette school board looking for levy support 2011.10.12

Written by David Green.

Fayette’s board of education is looking for voter support Nov. 8 to keep local funding steady as state support declines.

The 7-mill levy was first passed in 2002, and renewed in 2007. It expires in 2012. If renewed, funding will begin in 2013 and continue through 2017.

“It has been placed on the ballot now to provide for basic stability for the district for five years after the current levy expires,” said superintendent of school Russ Griggs. “It was also placed on the General Election ballot because special elections are more expensive for the district, using more taxpayer dollars to run the election.”

The renewal is not a new tax, he said. and the levy currently paid by property owners in the school district generates $298,500 a year.

“This revenue is essential for the operation of the district in providing educational programs and services,” Griggs said. “The money will not be used for new staff or programs. It is necessary to avoid larger cuts and reductions in programs.”

Cuts have already occurred due to a drop in other funding sources. During the past five years, Griggs said the district has made the following cuts: staff by five and 5/8 teachers, half a custodial position, one teacher aide, EMIS position was combined with the Library Media position, 7/10 superintendent position, and 3/5 technology position.

In addition, the high school counselor also teaches mathematics classes and the elementary guidance counselor has taken on other additional duties. The weight room supervisor has been a voluntary position for the past two years. Bus routes have been consolidated and the district was ranked third in the state for efficiency in transportation last year. 

Two supplemental positions were not filled this year. Budgets for supplies, materials and equipment have been reduced. Substantial savings have taken place in the treasurer’s office.

Utility costs have been lowered by conservation efforts and the wind turbine. With the assistance of a rebate program from First Energy, the gymnasium lights will be replaced with more efficient lighting for basketball season. More efficient bulbs will be installed in many other areas of the building leading to lower long-term operational cost.

 Griggs said that staff salaries have been frozen and starting teacher pay remains the same for the sixth year in a row. The health insurance program has changed from the top level benefit to a much lower level plan, with staff paying a significantly higher amount of co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses.

“The teacher and classified employee bargaining units have been very cooperative in controlling personnel costs,” Griggs said.

EXCELLENCE—Despite the cuts, Fayette was rated “excellent” three out of the past four years by the Ohio Department of Education. The district met 25 out of 26 state standards this past year.

“Renewal of this levy is essential to the future of Fayette Local Schools,” Griggs said.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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