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Cuts Coming if School Levy Fails, Busing Returns if Passed

The Stow-Munroe Falls School Board said if the levy does not pass in November, it's prepared to cut several items or increase some fees to help make ends meet.

The school district is looking to cut about $500,000 from its $55 million operating budget if the November school levy fails or reinstating high school busing if it passes.

Treasurer/CFO Catherine Bulgrin said the $500,000 figure is under consideration by the district and board and could be higher.

The weighed its options during the Sept. 12 meeting.

Possible cuts that could be made if the 6.57-mill 10-year levy on the Nov. 8 ballot does not pass:

  • Busing K-8 would be reduced to the 2-mile state minimum. Students who live less than 2 miles from their school building will no longer have transportation offered to them.
  • Closing all elementary buildings and at 4 p.m.
  • Closing and at 6 p.m.
  • Closing all buildings on the weekend.
  • All field trips eliminated.
  • Closing one or more school buildings. (An independent committee will be made up of local citizens to review a building and recommend whether they should be closed.)
  • Pay-to-play fees will double for the 2012-13 school year.

Currently, it costs $150 per sport, $100 for band and $100 for other activities. There is a $450 family cap and students with free or reduced lunches receive a discount.

If the levy fails, cuts would be effective Nov. 14 of this year. The district plans to discuss the cuts further during its Sept. 26 meeting at 7 p.m. at the high school. 

If the levy does pass, high school busing will be reinstated with cluster stops. 

A  would generate $6.5 million annually for 10 years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home:

  • $201.21 annually
  • $100.60 for half a year
  • $16.77 a month
  • 55 cents a day

If passed, the first collection would be in 2012. The district has not collected new money since 2002.

Issue 2, the same 6.57-mill levy,  Aug. 2.

The cuts listed above are only going to be made if the levy does not pass Nov. 8, said Superintendent Russ Jones.

The district has cut millions from its budget since 2002. Most recently, the board approved in April. Employees also took 

"We've done our due diligence to keep our nose above financial water with all these reductions," said Jones.

Click to see previous cuts made.

"It's pretty amazing when you think about how we were ranked 'Excellent' for the first time five years ago and are still ... we've maintained that all along the way and we've been cutting," said Jones. 

According to the five-year financial forecast, the district would be $2.29 million in the red by 2014 if new money isn't passed. 

"We’re at the end folks. We have made it our mantra to keep out of classroom. Now we have levy on ballot, with no new dollars since 2002 … it's time that the community invest in the school district and its children," he said.

Mike Barnes October 13, 2011 at 02:40 PM
On behalf of the SMF School Levy Committee I would like to invite all interested parties to attend tonight’s Issue 20 Informational meeting -- 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Oregon Trail Sports Center across from Woodland Elementary School on Graham Rd. Administration and school board members will be available to provide information regarding the need for additional funding through voter support for Issue 20 on November 8th.
Ed Kent October 17, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Many good parents have stated their willingness to accept higher fees for their child to play in order to keep from putting more burden on their neighbors, relatives and friends in Stow and Munroe Falls who are already hurting from job loss, income loss, higher living expenses and much higher health insurance premiums compared to school staff. And, many wisely have calculated the extra fees they would pay for pay-to-PLAY sports if the levy fails as being less than the extra 11% they would pay in property taxes if the levy would pass and while helping the rest of the community by not further diminishing the appeal Stow has for potential homebuyers looking for towns with lower property taxes. Only 30% of homebuyers have children in public schools. Yes, we will keep our schools excellent as we've done without new money for years. In fact, as reported by the treasurer the deficit figures in 2014 only occur if the levy renewals coming up soon don't pass. A 6.57-mill 10-year levy would generate $65 million for the district and would cost the owner of $200,000 home (just over the average value in Stow, but home values are declining): $4024.20 levy duration $402.42 annually $201.21 for half a year (increase due beginning THIS February) $33.54 a month $1.10 per a day The owner of a $250,000 home will pay an increase of: $5030.20 levy duration $503.20 annually $251.51 for half a year (increase due beginning THIS February) $41.91 a month $1.40 per a day
Ed Kent October 17, 2011 at 05:02 PM
With only $400,000 to $500,000 in projected cuts needed and the renewals passing (renewals always pass in Stow/Munroe Falls) in order to keep in budget, this new $65,000,000 property tax levy over 10 years is about raises. While it's understandable that everyone wants raises (even those 130 teachers and administrators making over $65,000 per 185 work days + benefits + pension), many of the rest of the citizens have endured actual income loss, job loss and some have lost or about to lose their home. It is therefore reasonable to expect higher fees to PLAY. And, many parents realize their responsibility in bringing children into this world and don't expect other homeowners to pay for everything their child wants. Fundraising helped us get the nice new playfield for games at the high school. These things are niceties as well as with field trips. It would be unreasonable to expect many struggling homeowners to pay even higher taxes so field trips could remain free. I applaud those who donated and those parents who paid out of pocket for their band member child to go to Disney World. Many pro-levy voters who feel they have the extra $30/month have decided they will donate that money to kids they know who want to play sports, if the levy fails, or even help with field trips, because they know many homeowners are really hurting right now.
lissa bailey October 17, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Ed, you're right! I just calculated the increased pay-to-play fee and what I'd pay in increased property tax beginning with my February bill (which I don't even have the extra money for in my budget) and I'll take the increased pay-to-play fees. Plus, many students are discussing fundraisers to offset the fee increase for parents who don't have the money yet their child wants to play (I'm one of those). I'm the type of parent who feels like education comes first and if there's money for extra-curricular things then fine. But, I agree that this is the worst time to ask property owners for money for sports and field trips. Come on. Familes are really suffering and I just had another friend admit to me they've been in the foreclosure process a while due to income cuts and I didn't realize for this past year what they were going through. We've got to put the WHOLE community ahead of our wants such as sports and games. I think extra curricular things are important and I'd rather find ways to fundraise for those things than to place it on the back of others during this recession. I know the media says it's over, but I haven't seen the recovery results myself.
Ward Benson October 17, 2011 at 06:31 PM
I never thought of the fact that it is less expensive for parents to pay the increased pay to participate fees than to pay the increased taxes if the new levy passes on Nov. 8. Very informative and my big DUH moment of the week! Yet, another reason not to place more expenses on homeowners than they already endure.

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