LODI — The Cloverleaf Board of Education approved several midyear cuts Monday night, but refused to cut high school busing.
Last month, Superintendent Daryl Kubilus proposed a midyear plan to trim $761,000 from the budget in order to help offset an $870,000 projected deficit in June 2011. His plan included laying off several support staff and cutting high school busing beginning in January.
“Obviously, in the last couple of weeks, we have heard from a lot of people. A lot of people have feelings about the cuts that I’m about to recommend, and it’s not easy,” he said during the meeting.
“The problem is we have over an $800,000 deficit at the end of this year and a projected $5.2 million at the end of next year.”
The board voted to lay off two secretaries, two aides and five custodians, which should save the district $133,300 for the remainder of the school year and approximately $263,000 annually.
However, the board did not approve a proposal to cut high school busing for the rest of the school year. The move would have saved $177,000, which was 23 percent of the proposed midyear cuts.
Prior to voting, board member Chris Berry asked Kubilus whether there was enough parking at the high school, and also what kind of traffic issues the 119-square-mile district would face.
“Once the parking lot was full, we’d have to turn people away and only be able to sell ‘X’ number of spaces in the parking lot,” Kubilus said.
The busing measure failed 4-1, with William Hutson the only board member to vote in favor of the cut.
Berry also asked whether the speed limits on Friendsville and Buffham roads, where the new elementary school will be, could be lowered to 35 from 55 mph, but Kubilus said petitions were denied in the past.
Kubilus also noted while paving the marching band field has been discussed, it would not occur in the near future.
Keeping busing for high school students will not put the district in fiscal emergency, Treasurer Mary Workman said.
Under fiscal emergency, the state would take over the district. A five-member financial planning and supervision commission would be formed, and the commission would review or assume responsibility for tax budgets, levy requests and appropriations to ensure a balanced budget.
For now, Cloverleaf is on fiscal caution and is required to submit a monthly fiscal recovery plan to the state. The board voted Monday to approve the fiscal recovery plan, which outlines how the district will end the school year without a deficit.
Without cutting busing, Cloverleaf will end the school year with a $280,000 deficit, which the district will cover with a tax advance from the Medina County Auditor’s Office.
The board voted to give Workman the authority to seek a tax anticipation note, which borrows in advance of future tax revenues, if needed. It is the fourth time the district will borrow funds in order to make payroll, Workman said.
The board also approved additional measures to offset the deficit, including $123,793 in community reinvestment area proceeds to the general fund, and moving $150,000 from the Permanent Improvement Fund for textbook purchases.
“This is something notable we couldn’t do before, but with the new language of the permanent improvement renewal levy, we are able to do this,” Kubilus said. “Whatever we can do to preserve dollars from the general fund, it’s my recommendation to do that.”
In November, voters renewed a five-year, 2-mill permanent improvement levy, but defeated a 5.9-mill emergency levy for operating expenses. Permanent improvement funds cannot be used for operating expenses such as salaries.
Kubilus and the board also discussed Monday putting another operating levy on the May ballot. The deadline is Feb. 2.
“It’s coming quickly,” Kubilus said.
Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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