Boardman schools to take the ‘biggest hit’

By Denise Dick


Boardman schools will see the biggest cut in state- foundation funding of all districts in Mahoning County, according to numbers released Thursday by the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.

Those numbers show that Boardman will see a 10.2 percent reduction in state- foundation support in fiscal year 2012.

The numbers, though, don’t include the loss of tangible personal-property tax and other state-funding losses.

“In fiscal year 2009, we received $7.1 million in state revenue,” said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri.

For fiscal year 2012, that amount drops to $5.6 million.

“That’s an 18 percent decrease over what we received,” Lazzeri said.

The district also will lose roughly an additional $800,000 in tangible personal-property tax.

“We’re taking the biggest hit in Mahoning County,” he said. “We’ve never experienced this. We’ll have to look to see if there are some cuts we can make that aren’t going to hurt kids.”

More than 80 percent of the district’s budget is personnel costs. The district hopes to be able to reduce costs through attrition, but Lazzeri said he’s not sure that will be enough.

“We’re trying not to cut programs and not to hurt kids, but the state is making that hard to do,” he said.

The district has been discussing the potential for cuts since the beginning of the year but had to wait to see budget numbers before deciding how to proceed.

It’s frustrating, Lazzeri said, because he says Boardman schools are good stewards of taxpayer money.

“This is how we get treated for being good stewards,” he said.

A news release from the state Office of Budget and Management said Gov. John Kasich’s administration believes in a school-funding model that “directs funds into the classroom and away from administration and bureaucracy.

“Over the next year, the administration will develop a new approach to state support of education,” the news release states.

In the interim, a bridge formula will allocate state-foundation funding to school districts based on a district’s reliance on state support for education as measured by its property valuation per pupil and the number of students who reside within a district, it explains.

The numbers show that Poland schools will be cut 3 percent in state-foundation funding in fiscal year 2012.

But Superintendent Robert Zorn said that figure doesn’t include the loss of tangible personal- property tax, which is about $410,000. If you factor in all of the reductions, the cut is 10 percent or 11 percent, he said.

Zorn also disagrees with the cuts to districts with higher property valuation. Districts with higher valuations already receive less state aid, he said.

Of the 612 school districts in Ohio, 420 received an increase in state-foundation funding, he said.

“Do I think it’s fair to give 400 an increase and 200 a decrease? No,” Zorn said.

Youngstown schools will see an increase of about 5.4 percent in 2012, but officials remain cautious.

Board of education member Anthony Catale, finance committee chairman, said Kasich’s proposed budget plan also includes doubling the number of EdChoice vouchers, which allow students who attend failing schools to go elsewhere. Kasich also wants to remove the cap on the number of charter and community schools in the state.

As state money follows the student, both of those things could mean more expense for Youngstown schools, Catale said.

Treasurer William Johnson said that those changes also could mean greater transportation costs to the district as more students have to be transported to other schools.

The Youngstown city school board approved contracts for several administrators at a meeting Thursday. Those awarded two-year contracts and their pay:

William Christofil, principal, Choffin Career & Technical Center, $75,486.

Wanda Clark, principal, Williamson Elementary, $74,937.

Deborah DiFrancesco, principal, University Project Learning Center, $77,733.

Catherine Dorbish, principal, Martin Luther King Elementary, $74,937.

Jerome Harrell, principal, Wilson Middle School, $83,325.

Diane Hunsbarger, principal, Volney Rogers Middle, $75,496.

Larry Johnson, administrator, $81,088.

Pamela Logan, head of guidance, $73,818.

Holly Seimetz, principal, East High School, $86,681.

Deborah Zitella, gifted and talented program, $85,003.

Those awarded one-year

contracts and their pay:

Donna Cox-Bing, principal, Kirkmere Elementary, $71,581.

Jennifer Damico, administrator, $68,226.

Artemus Scissum, principal, Paul C. Bunn Elementary, $68,226.

Patricia Trell, technology, $72,141.

Erik Thorson, principal, Chaney High School, $85,003.

James Vivo, assistant principal, Chaney, $64,871.

Source: Youngstown school district

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