April 18, 2014

Partly cloudy

Cloverleaf: We’ve made do, but we need more money

Cloverleaf Schools Superintendent Daryl Kubilus stressed the district’s need for operating funds while highlighting achievements in his State of the Schools address.

“We have not allowed the lack of funding to stop us from doing all we can to improve our student performance,” he said Wednesday to a crowd of 30 people gathered at Cloverleaf Elementary School in Westfield Township.

Kubilus noted that in the 2008-09 school year the district was rated “effective” on the state’s report card.

The message projected on a giant screen emphasizes Cloverleaf Schools Superintendent Daryl Kubilus’ call for additional operating funding during his State of the Schools address Wednesday night at Cloverleaf Elementary School. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Now, Cloverleaf is the only school district in Ohio to be rated “excellent with distinction” while being in fiscal emergency, he said.

Kubilus called this “a dubious honor,” and said he was unsure how long Cloverleaf could maintain the rating without a new levy.

Since January 2012, the district’s finances have been overseen by a five-member state commission and the “fiscal emergency” designation allows it to borrow money from the state.

But that money must be paid back. To do that, the district can’t have a deficit.

“The depths of cuts necessary to stave off our deficit are out of the realm of possibility,” he said, adding that the amount needed from levies only will increase as the district borrows more from the state to cover projected deficits.

A 7.9-mill levy is on the May 7 ballot. It 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.

The school board plans an August levy attempt if the May levy fails.

The district has failed to pass a levy in four tries. In November, voters struck down a 6.9-mill levy by a margin of 6 percent.

“Although it may seem illogical to keep raising the millage in light of a no vote, it is necessary,” Kubilus said.

Cloverleaf has cut $6.6 million from its budget in the past several years, including 70 positions, Kubilus said.

The district also has met with surrounding townships and villages for a shared services summit, and agreed to discuss possible collaborations on road salt, fuel purchasing, shared grant writing, office supply purchasing and copier leasing, he said.

Should the May 7 levy pass, high school busing will be restored, school buildings will be reopened in the evenings, and there will not be a transition to an all-day, every-other-day kindergarten model next year.

Also, if the levy is approved, funds will be set aside for armed deputies at each school building, something Kubilus said parents requested after the Newtown, Conn., shootings.

In listing the district’s accomplishments, Kubilus singled out several individuals:

• Trevor Dahl, a senior at the high school who received the Franklin B. Walter Award for outstanding achievement;

• Special education teacher Kim Mannix, who was named a “teacher of excellence” by the Medina County Schools’ Educational Service Center.

Kubilus also lauded the high school’s Academic Challenge team for being undefeated in the Medina County league this year and the food service department for going from a $130,000 deficit to $10,000 in the black in three years.

“Cloverleaf is a district that is ‘excellent with distinction,’ ” Kubilus said at the end of his speech. “Let’s keep it that way.”

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

  • lookingallaroundme

    Daryl Kubilus is great at telling parts of the truth. Cloverleaf has made tremendous cuts to all parts of its system except administration. They share a treasurer with Medina which is cost saving, but they didn’t even consider this option until the former treasurer was safety employed elsewhere. A HS principal retires and instead of hiring a new one, Cloverleaf hires two head principals so both can get raises and then call it cost saving. The Athletic Director makes almost 80k and a few years ago they were able to do this with a half time AD. The curriculum director’s job could be done by the Medina County ESC: Cloverleaf pays for these services but doesn’t use them. Finally administrative salaries are far too high. Kubilus says his salary is 105.000 but when you factor in his board paid retirement, his additional 10,000 into private retirement accounts, his year end bonus, his car allowance, his cell phone allowance, his excellent school bonus, his salary is somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000. This lack of transparency in salary is present for each administrator at the Leaf. They all make about 10,000 more than the board is willing to tell us. Cloverleaf has made tremendous cuts, and the body of this district is emaciated. There is,however, still a great deal of fat in its head.

  • Go Colts

    Looking all around you are simply incorrect. Kubilus does not receive a year end bonus or an excellent school bonus. He does not receive a car allowance beyond mileage reimbursement for use of his own vehicle just like any other employer reimburses his/her employees. There have been several administrative cuts and the administrators actually make less now since they pay more of the health insurance costs while not having received any raises for years. Cloverleaf is extremely transparent especially compared to other schools. It is people like you who really hurt the schools. You spout out “facts” that have nothing to do with reality.

  • momof2

    The thought of cutting the all day kindergarten program makes me cringe. If this levy does not pass, our family will be moving out of the district. As a family with young children, and many friends (with young children) who are purchasing homes and settling into school districts, I can tell you Cloverleaf is near the very bottom of everyone’s list. We recently sold our home (that was in the district) and had to take a serious hit on the price because young families wanted nothing to do with living in the Cloverleaf district. Sad. If you vote no for the levy, I hope you plan on keeping your home for a long long time because new families probably won’t want it at this rate. :(

  • Sick of higher school tax

    They always take about the cuts to students but they never make any cuts in administration administrations pay, benefits, or perks. It is always take from the students and put pressure on to the parents. Well until they start cutting those things. DO NOT PASS ANY LEVY. Why if they so badly need the levy. Then why if it passes. Would you put everything back in place when all that is going to just put the school right back where they are as t now. If levy would happen to pass. Just leave things way they are now.Are deeper cuts in administration and administrations pay, benefits, and perks. That way in 10 years you won’t be cry oh we have no money. Put into place a wage and benefits freeze for that 10 years. If you don’t want to do that. Then you do not need a levy passed.VOTE NO ON LEVY until this happens. The people on fixed income can not deal with any more taxes. Change the way you fund schools. It is unconstitutional to fund through property tax. Ruled not once but 3 times by supreme courts. Got to income tax or sales tax. Be fair about it that way everyone pays!!!!!!

  • lookingallaroundme

    Check these “facts” for me because they are things that I have heard: How many vacation days does Daryl Q. Billus receive each year? How many unused ones can he cash in at his daily rate? Do administrators fill out mileage forms for reimbursement, or do they just take the gas card like they did under former super Bruce Hulme? Speaking of Bruce, did he really receive $346,000 in retirement perks when he left the Leaf? Of the administrative salary cuts due to insurance, how do those cuts compare to the cost of paying their STRS retirement and the pick up? Did you factor into the decreasing administrator salary, the rising cost of employee retirement contributions that the Board will be picking up. Retirement contributions for employees go up each of the next two years and the board is on the hook for that. You wrote,”There have been several administrative cuts….” Didn’t I mention those two? The treasurer and going from THREE high school principals to TWO– like almost every other school in the world. Is it true that we hired an assistant principal for the MS while the principal at that time showed up for work most days about 40 minutes late? Are we continually repairing the new elementary because sealant on the walls and floors was hurried so we could open “on schedule and under budget” and now those are warping? Were thousands of dollars in materials stolen from that facility because there was no adequate storage plan during construction?nnnDon’t get me wrong, Go Colts, I will be voting for this levy. Here is why: The leadership has driven this school to no other option. If the levy doesn’t pass this time, I believe that the amount will go up and up until a levy passes. For years, it used to be that the board would ask for a levy; it would fail, then they would ask for a lesser amount; it would fail, then they would bargain to take off one amount of millage if they could get something to pass. Now the state is in control. Why? Because our leadership invited them in before they needed to be here. Look at Buckeye, why aren’t they in state takeover? They never asked for it. I just hope that with new money comes new administration.