July 25, 2016

Mostly clear

‘Draconian’ cuts for Cloverleaf expected if pair of tax issues fail

LODI — Cloverleaf again is going to the voters for more money.

This time the school board plans to place a combination issue on the May 6 primary ballot that includes a 3.5-mill property tax and a 0.75 percent earned income tax for 10 years.

Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said the income tax is expected to produce more than $3 million annually. The 3.5-mill property tax would take effect Jan. 1, 2015, and immediately produce more than $1.6 million annually for 10 years.

The school board passed a resolution Monday asking that the tax be placed on the ballot.

A state-appointed fiscal oversight commission was expected to consider the resolution Tuesday night.

The five-member commission was appointed 1½ years ago to oversee the financially strapped school district.

Kubilus said the board has cut more than $7 million from the budget in last five years. But even with spending more than $2 million less this year than last year, the district remains in financial distress.

Fiscal Oversight Commission Chairman Paul Marshall previously said that although Cloverleaf can make it through this school year, the district will run a deficit again next year.

The district has projected a $5.8 million deficit by 2017 if a new levy is not approved.

Marshall said the district’s recovery plan assumed passage of a levy.

“If a levy is not approved, and fairly quickly, we’re going to have to make some other decisions,” he said.

Voters last year rejected a 10-year, 8.3-mill levy in November and a 7.9-mill, 10-year levy in May. A 6.9-mill, 10-year levy was rejected in November 2011.

If the district can’t generate more money soon, Marshall warned “draconian” cuts may be needed.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.