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Boardman School Board approves levy for May ballot

January 25, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Boardman Board of Education held a second reading and voted on a resolution to place a 5.8 mill levy on the May 8 ballot. The levy is part of a 10 year plan for Boardman School District. Superintendent Tim Saxton said a 5.8 mill levy would bring in $4.9 million to the district.

"We held a first reading earlier this month," Saxton said. "Monday was our second reading and now it can be placed on the ballot in May."

He said the reason behind the emergency need for the funds is actually from a lot of different items hitting at once. One is the Tangible Personal Property Tax the state had phased out. It cost Boardman schools close to $10 million in its budget.

The second item came from the state.

"The state has a funding formula that works against Boardman," Saxton said. "We are a capped district."

He said a capped district is frozen at a prior year's funding level and the formula to determine how much the district gets doesn't work well for Boardman. In fact, Saxton said the state sets aside an amount to give to Boardman, but often takes away some funding to give to other school districts the state feels has more need for it. Saxton said Boardman was supposed to receive $13 million, but the state only rovided $9 million.

As if those two strikes were not enough, the third strike and out came from St. Elizabeth Hospital-Boardman Campus, under Mercy Health Youngstown. It received non-profit status and became exempt from property taxes in 2017. That meant the property taxes already paid out had to be returned to Mercy Health. For Boardman schools, that amounted to almost $1 million, which was taken from the recent property tax proceeds.

"Without the hospital situation, we may have been able to stretch one more year before asking for a levy," Saxton said.

Adding salt to the wound is open enrollment. Saxton said Boardman looses close to $1 million to open enrollment and another $900,000 to charter schools.

Saxton said the size of the levy is to insure it will last ten years out. He said the state is requiring a five-year forecast from school districts, but in Boardman, the long term forecast is done for ten years.

"We are confident this 5.8 mill levy will take us out ten years," he said. "In 2003 we passed a 5.9 mill levy that lasted ten years. In 2013 we passed a 3.9 mill levy that was supposed to be a three-year levy, but we stretched it to five years."

He said one way the district is watching the bottom is through attrition. We are looking at 8 to 10 positions not being filled after the person retires.

"Attrition is better because we are reducing from the top," Saxton said. "Staff at the top [of the ladder] are making almost twice what new hires are making."

He said if the district did a layoff, they would loose two staff members to get the same amount of savings that would be received by attrition and not replacing a top retiring staff member.

School Board President Jeffrey Barone feels the right decision was made for the levy. He feels it is all up to getting the message out.

"If we have the right message, we will be successful," he said at Monday's Board of Education meeting."

The 5.8 mill levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home less than $17 per month.

 
 

 

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