May 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Cloverleaf Schools: Services would return with levy

WESTFIELD TWP. — Last month the Cloverleaf Board of Education approved drastic cuts that would be triggered by failure of the school district’s combined levy and income tax on the May 6 primary ballot.

This week the board announced what programs and services the financially strained district would bring back, beginning with the 2014-15 school year, if voters approve the issue:

n high school busing;

n half-day, every-day kindergarten;

n school buildings would be reopened for use by community groups after school hours.

“They had lots of discussion about the bring-backs and they had to make some judgments about community sentiment and I think they made a wise decision to limit them to that,” Superintendent Daryl Kubilus. “With the passage of the levy, the board is committed to look at other bring-backs based on an annual review of available revenue.”

The May 6 ballot issue is a combined a 10-year, 3.5-mill property tax and a 0.75 percent earned income tax.

The earned income tax would generate approximately $3 million per year, but would be paid only by those earning wages. Social Security income, child support, investment income, retirement income and rental income would not be taxed, officials said.

The 3.5-mill portion of the levy would generate $1.6 million per year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $122.52 a year, school officials said.

Property owners can visit to calculate the exact cost for their property. Officials said passage of the levy will prevent additional cuts and provide financial stability for Cloverleaf into the 2020s if state funding levels remain as they are today.

“The board is maintaining a commitment to the community of staying off the ballot until some time in the 2020s,” Kubilus said.

Cloverleaf was placed under the control of a state Fiscal Oversight Commission in 2012. Earlier this year, the commission required Cloverleaf to make an additional $1 million in budget cuts.

The previously approved cuts included a shortened school day; elimination of kindergarten through sixth-grade art, music and physical education; closure of school libraries; elimination of 19 staff positions; and a reduction in hours for another 29 staff members.

The district already has cut $7 million over the past five years and Kubilus said any further cuts would have a negative impact on the quality of education at Cloverleaf.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or