Columbiana schools seek income tax approvalbefore cutting programs
Over the course of the last year the Columbiana Exempted Village School Board has attempted to pass a replacement levy three times. Each time the levy has failed. This November we will place on the ballot a 1 percent income tax. The reasoning behind this is quite simple, operating costs have slowly eroded any reserve funds that existed. With voters saying no to a levy, the board had decided that an income tax may be a fairer way to support our schools. It is our hope that if the voters of the school district understand the issues they will vote in favor of the tax. The board and administration have done all that they can to operate the district in a fiscally responsible manner. In spite of this we are facing a $1 million deficit at the end of the next fiscal year.
The school board now has the responsibility of beginning to assess where cuts will be made if the proposed income tax fails at the ballot box. Some of the cuts that will be made for the 2003-04 school year include but are not limited to: Supplemental contracts (the positions of coaching staff and advisers, meaning no sports, no extracurricular activities), busing for all students outside of a one-mile radius of their school building, six teachers (art, music, physical ed., two computer, one 7th/8th grade classroom teacher), a guidance counselor, custodians, library aides, secretaries, and an administrator. Industrial arts and home economics programs will be limited and professional development for teachers will be cut. No new textbooks will be purchased and use of classroom materials will be limited. The school day may need to be adjusted to compensate for the limited staff. That will be phase one. At that point it is likely that the state will take over the running of the school district. The 2004-05 school year will see further cuts including the closing of a building and further staff cuts.
The Village of Columbiana has seen a steady improvement over the course of many years in its academic performance culminating in this coming report card as an "excellent" school district meeting 21 of 22 goals. We have outscored most schools in the tri-county area on proficiency tests year after year. It was with the support of the community that we have made these strides. Without continued support we will begin to see those gains erode. Along with the loss of a strong educational community comes the loss of property values and decline in new construction, even those without school age children are effected by the quality of schools in their community.
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. the board will host an informational meeting at Joshua Dixon School to answer any questions that community members may have and to listen to suggestions on how we may pass this important tax issue. We hope that all interested parties will attend this meeting.
JAMES BOSELA, the Rev. Dr. STEPHEN CRAMER, WILLIAM GREENAWALT, Dr. JAY HERTEL and ROBERT RUBICKY
Members of the Columbiana Exempted Village Board of Education
Thanks to safety services
Faith Community Church had a noon-time September 11 service and invited both the Fire and Police Departments to take part in our service. Capt. DiTullio came from the Fire Department and read Scripture and Sgt. Linden from the Police Department lead in the Litany.
Our congregation was very grateful to them and all police and fire personnel who protect us. It is right that great acclaim be given those involved in the 9/11 tragedy, but we should not forget our local police and fire personnel.
Sometimes we don't thank them enough. We have great forces in the Youngstown area.
Pastor PAUL EASTON
Faith Community Church