July 1, 2016

Partly cloudy

Medina Schools seeks public input on possible levy

MEDINA — Medina Schools officials are hosting a meeting the week to ask the public for advice before deciding whether to put a levy on the May 7 ballot.

There will be a community meeting 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the main cafeteria in Medina High School.

Board president Bill Grenfell said the board has not yet made a decision for a May ballot issue.

“We haven’t made a final decision — whether or not we’ll be on, or what the size or the shape of it will be,” he said.

The deadline to file a tax issue with the Medina County Board of Elections is Feb. 6.

Grenfell said that during the meeting, participants will write down answers to various questions, answering, for example, why they think previous levies have not been approved.

He said the format of the meeting will give people the opportunity to say what they really think.

“People are more inclined to be more frank,” he said.

The district also will have an online survey available this week at www.medinacityschooldistrict.org.

Grenfell said there was a meeting Dec. 16 and more public meetings are planned, including one with members of the Medina Area Chamber of Commerce.

He said board members and school officials hope to gain a better understanding of how much the community would be willing to support the school system.

Medina Superintendent Randy Stepp, board members and other administrative staff members will be at the meeting.

The district faces a projected deficit of $3 million in fiscal year 2014, $5.6 million in 2016 and $18.2 million in 2017, officials said.

School officials said the shortfalls are the result of cuts in state funding, inflation and the district’s inability to pass a levy the past several years.

Overall, the district has cut more than $9.5 million from its budget and reduced staff by 20 percent in the past several years.

Services that have been cut include reading intervention specialists and guidance counselors at the elementary school level, elective course offerings at both middle and high school levels, and transportation has been reduced to state minimum standards.

Students who live fewer than 2 miles from school do not get busing, and there is no transportation for high school students.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.