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Panel approves McDonald’s recovery plan

Published: Tue, February 23, 2010 @ 12:03 a.m.

State officials praised the school board for its work in making the cuts.

By Mary R. Smith

McDONALD —The McDonald Financial Planning and Supervision Commission has approved a recovery plan from the McDonald school board containing $875,045 in budget cuts.

The cuts bring the district’s budget to $6.9 million for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1. The school board approved reductions totaling $360,173 at a special meeting Monday. The district had already proposed more than $500,000 in cuts to the state- appointed Financial Planning and Supervision Commission on Thursday

Employees affected by the cuts were informed before the board vote.

“We’ve done the best we can do to protect classroom students,” board president Jeff Hughes said.

The commission is now willing to consider a proposed five-year, 6-mill emergency levy to generate $1.6 million over five years.

The school district had a $2 million deficit for fiscal year 2010, which ends June 30, and borrowed that amount from the state. The state declared the district in fiscal emergency in October.

The commission approved the cuts and a plan for a levy at its meeting, though commission member Ed Bush, former Trumbull County auditor, said he wanted to see “what progress is made” before he votes to put a levy on the ballot.

Paul Marshall of the state Office of Budget and Management said, “We gave this district a very difficult task last week. I have to commend the board for doing what had to be done.”

Chairwoman Dr. Jacalyn Osborne said she believed that Marshall “has spoken for all of us. We appreciate what you [the board] have done.”

The commission heard from Village Mayor Glen Holmes that he wants to see the school district “right itself,” so the village can take part in what he called a “ Renaissance” in the area, with the multimillion-dollar project at V&M Steel, an expected third shift at GM Lordstown, and other new business growth.

“We would like to be one of those areas people want to come to,” he said. He encouraged the board to consider an administrative change such as the one in the Orville and Pittman, Ohio, school districts, where one superintendent and one treasurer run two school districts.

He said those districts have save $250,000 in a year.

District treasurer Brian Stidham said he expects the district will have to ask for one more loan, $357,000, from the State Recovery Fund.


The school board has cut $875,045 from the budget for fiscal year 2011. The new cuts include:

Combining the job of superintendent and elementary principal. Maggie Kowach, who was made interim elementary-school principal after the retirement earlier this year of Anthony Russo, will return to her position as kindergarten teacher next school year. The new superintendent/elementary-school principal post is to pay $66,000, for a savings of $130,060. Superintendent Michael Wasser, who resigned Sunday effective July 31, is making $80,755 this year. (Wasser said Monday he does not have another job at this time.) Kowach is making $61,567, plus benefits.

Eliminating medical, dental and vision benefits for two part-time secretaries who will be cut to 24 hours a week from 32 hours a week for a savings of $19,378. A study-hall monitor will also be eliminated.

Reduction of two teachers from full time to half-time.

Elimination of a half-time Spanish teacher, one elementary teacher and cutting the nurse position to half-time after the current nurse retires.

Reductions in supplemental contracts will save $40,514 and include combining the junior and senior class advisers, and cutting the positions of assistant athletic director and physical-fitness coach.

Nonteaching cuts will save $54,158, and include elimination of one custodian.

Custodial, administrative and office-staff cuts will take place July 1, or when administrative contracts end. Teaching cuts will take effect next school year.

Source: McDonald school officials


1RamIt(11 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Wasser is just as responsible as Radabaugh is in this whole mess if not more so since he had to sign off on all the requests. The moron can't even acknowledge he did anything wrong either. If you want to know how to bury a school system in 5 years (this has been covered up for well over 2 years), ask Mike Wasser. Good luck to whoever is stupid enough to hire him. You're going to need it.

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2LowerCaseG(11 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

I am not sure that taking a hatchet to the budget and then relying on a levy is ultimately a good thing for the district. For one, the tax increase is a large sum for people of the district to absorb. Also, the cutting of staff and programs cannot possibly be the best thing for students, who I think are already not as prepared for college as they should be. Finally, the idea of combining the posts of Superintendent and Elementary School Principal for the salary they are offering is unlikely to attract the type of qualified individual who the district needs to guide them through the problems they face. I understand that these actions may actually get them out of the red, but is it really the best for McDonald in the long run?

In my eyes the residents of the district are going to have a difficult time voting for the proposed levy. What is their incentive? Increasing your taxes to keep a school afloat that will be a minor league version of an actual high school is not going to satisfy the argument for increasing property taxes for better schools and higher return rate on your property value. I stated in another thread, and still believe, that consolidation is the end result and best alternative for the district.

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3Roland_Martin(24 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

I am a student at McDonald and this whole situation troubles me greatly. I feel that people are not taking responsibility. A few people made mistakes, and now we the students pay for them. We lose out on electives, and staff. We get to look forward to packed study halls and huge classes. No one has taken any responsibility.

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4localv(2 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

In all honesty, this trouble started entirely too long ago. When a school needs to hire aides for everything under the sun because teachers can't give ONE of their planning periods to watch the study hall, you have a problem. Or the fact that the superintendent didn't watch over anything going on...or even the board? It's what happens when you get too comfortable. Maybe everyone should stop being so buddy buddy with each other and actually get a clue.

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5Roland_Martin(24 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, localv, ImUrPo is right. Also, most of the teachers only have one planning period a day.

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6localv(2 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Actually, when I was in high school, the same very high school, most of the teachers had at least two planning periods per day. So it would not be running my mouth, it would be from past experience. Frankly, I just don't believe in the fact that people need aides...you can prepare what you need to prepare and watch a study hall at the same time. It's how it used to be and there is no reason it still shouldn't be that way. It was a waste of extra money they never ever needed to spend.

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