June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

Cloverleaf school board readies backup levy plan

WESTFIELD TWP. — The Cloverleaf school board is taking out some insurance in case voters reject the 7.9-mill levy on the May primary ballot.

The board agreed Monday to put three issues on the Aug. 6 special election ballot.

“We have to make all possible contingency plans,” Cloverleaf Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said.

One of the three issues would be the same 7.9-mill tax that’s on the May ballot but combined with a renewal of a five-year levy that is scheduled to expire this year.

The board also put the 7.9-mill levy and the renewal levy on the ballot as separate issues.

If the May levy passes, the board will consider just putting the renewal on the August ballot, Kubilus said.

“Our intention would be just to renew the levy, which is expiring at the end of this calendar year,” he said.

The district has been in fiscal emergency since January 2012, and its finances are overseen by the five-member state commission.

The commission still must approve the levy resolutions.

Kubilus said the board needed to act now because the deadline to place levy options on the August ballot is before the May election, he said.

The 7.9-mill levy on the May ballot would bring in $3.7 million a year for 10 years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $248 a year.

Approval of the May levy would restore high school busing, reopen buildings in the evenings and prevent a planned transition to an all-day, every-other-day kindergarten model. Cloverleaf officials also plan to set aside money for a trained, armed officer at each school, a move parents have requested.

Kubilus said no additional cuts have been planned until results of a performance audit from the state are announced. He said he expected the audit to be made public sometime in April.

Losses in state funding and the inability to pass a levy has put the district under severe financial strain. It has cut about $6.2 million from the budget over the past several years and combined three neighborhood elementary schools into one new school.

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