STREETSBORO — During the regular Streetsboro Board of Education meeting Thursday night, members directed the superintendent and treasurer to find cuts “now” so decisions can be made about future levy votes.
Superintendent Mike Daulbaugh said the district will need $3.4 million to stay afloat due to the failure of the 7.5-mill, five-year limited levy this week. He told the board there were two paths the district could take: Stay at status quo and keep operating as is, or come up with a list of non-curriculum cuts that could be made as early as January.
Board President Brian Violi said, “We need to be drastic now and cut what we can. We are going to the ballot in May, and we will need a comprehensive list so voters know what could be cut.”
The board is expected to take the first step toward putting a levy on the May ballot at its December meeting, followed by the second resolution in January to keep to the Board of Elections filing deadline of Feb. 6.
Daulbaugh said he and Treasurer CJ Scarcipino have more research to do as to what type of levy and what exact millage will be needed, but he said it will likely be another five-year limited or emergency levy.
Board Member Denise Baba said she wants to hear what can be cut by the Dec. 13 board meeting.
“There are only two things you can do with a budget,” Baba said. “Bring in more money or spend less, so let’s look at what we can do outside of the classroom.”
Daulbaugh said he and Scarcipino have already begun a comprehensive look at the larger picture of what cuts could be made if the May levy should fail.
“There are costs we can control,” Daulbaugh said. Efforts can include cutting field trips, closing buildings after school hours, ceasing professional development that isn’t state funded, and other things.
The need for funds is immediate and isn’t going away. While there is uncertainty of what the next governor’s biennium budget will bring for education, school districts in Ohio have been fighting a losing battle.
“It is a fact we have lost $10 million in the tangible personal property tax and it is a fact that we have not had new (operating) money since 2010,” Daulbaugh said. “We built new buildings, but that money is not operating money; that cannot be used to pay for operating costs.”
He added the district has grown and had to hire staff to accommodate the growth.
Board Member Kevin Grimm said the district is always looking at ways to save money. Baba agreed and said the information is on the district’s website. A small levy committee — whom Daulbaugh thanked publicly at the meeting — worked to put information out to the public, but residents have to read it.
“It’s easier to be mad at us who are here than those in Columbus who are taking the money away,” Baba said.
Daulbaugh also said he is intrigued by the idea of the earned income tax levy that James A. Garfield Schools just passed.
“Streetsboro is different than Garrettsville, and we have a lot of industrial businesses here that could be affected, so we would really have to do our homework to see if it fits,” Daulbaugh said. “We don’t want to lose our industry here. We want Streetsboro to keep growing.”
Reporter Briana Barker can be reached at 330-541-9432, firstname.lastname@example.org or @brianabarker1.