If Canfield schools levy passes, busing will be reviewed

By Christine Keeling



High school busing is not among the school services scheduled to be restored if voters approve a five-year 4.9-mill operating levy in November.

The Canfield school board adopted a plan Wednesday at its special meeting to restore bus-stop locations for kindergarten through eighth-grade students, to transport high school band members to away games, to bring back several classified employees and to retain teachers if the district were to receive new money in 2012, from its proposed operating levy. The levy would generate $2,751,914 a year for the district.

“High school busing will be reviewed in the future, but at this time, for 2012, kindergarten through eighth-grade busing will be what’s restored,” said Superintendent Dante Zambrini, if the levy passes.

To save money, after a 6.9-mill levy failed in May, the district changed its transportation routes to include more cluster-style stops for its elementary and middle-school students. It also eliminated high school busing and transportation for high school band members to away games.

The cluster-style stops allowed the district to reduce its work force and saved the district $93,600. No busing for high school students reduced the district’s budget by $83,000 and $800 per away game was saved by not transporting high school band members.

The decision to bring back transportation that will feature cluster and individualized stops for elementary and middle-school students will allow the district to better serve students and families, said Zambrini. If the changes are made, four to five drivers will be hired.

“Two-thirds of our ridership is in kindergarten through eighth grade,” he said.

Stops for high school students are often more spread out because many juniors and seniors drive to school. This causes buses to drive more miles, he said. The money saved by eliminating this service came, in part, from a reduction in driver’s hours.

“The door isn’t closed” on high school busing “just not open,” said Zambrini. “We have to protect the academics, that’s what we are here for.”

If the levy passes, 12 teaching positions, in math, science, music, art and physical education, slated for termination in March 2012 would be saved.

“We’ll be able to retain programs in core academics and expressive arts,” said Zambrini. If the levy fails, “it doesn’t mean we won’t have math at the high school, just fewer teachers which will make larger classes.”

Concessions by the district’s labor organizations saved the district $1.9 million over three years.

In June, 199 members of the Canfield Education Association, the teachers union, agreed to surrender $250,000 in pay increases in their current contract to the district and agreed to concessions that resulted in base salary and salary schedule freezes from 2012-14 at the 2011-12 level. Their health insurance contributions will be 8 percent of the premium in 2011-12, 9 percent in 2012-13, and 10 percent or 15 percent in 2013-14.

Members of the Canfield’s Ohio Association of Public School Employees, representing nonteaching employees, and the Canfield Bus Drivers Association agreed to salary freezes through the 2013-14 school year and increased insurance premiums. Administrative, supervisory and non-union employees also agreed to a zero increase in pay and will have increases in insurance premiums.

Total saving in concessions and other reductions throughout the district have totalled $3.7 million.

November’s levy would cost a homeowner of a $100,000 home $104.12 in additional property tax in 2012.

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