UPDATE | An estimated 1,700 people attend Boardman schools meeting

BOARDMAN — School officials estimate 1,700 people turned out for tonight's State of the Schools meeting.

In small group discussions and public comments, attendees again and again said they are concerned about the $1 million in cuts district leaders say will be implemented if the levy does not pass.

Attendees expressed particular concern about proposed cuts to art and music education in elementary schools.

Many expressed support for the levy and asked how they can help get it approved by the voters who might not have direct ties to the school district.

“Those are the people we need to reach. You have our support. We need theirs,” one person told district officials.

The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $205 per year.

7:12 p.m.

BOARDMAN — Many hundreds of people have turned out tonight for a State of the Schools community meeting at Boardman High School.

The cafeteria is packed to standing room only for the meeting to discuss the school district’s finances.

“It should be no secret we find ourselves in a financial crisis here,” school board president Jeff Barone said.

He noted $1 million that was taken out of the district’s budget due to the reclassification of a building at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital to nonprofit status.

“It propelled us into this situation, but it is by far not the underlying cause,” Barone said.

Barone said if a levy the district has on the May ballot doesn’t get approved, the district will have to cut teachers for the first time since the 1980s.

The district is asking for a 10-year emergency levy that would generate $4.9 million annually.

Superintendent Tim Saxton is outlining plans to help the district stave off its financial situation.

Discussing what would happen if the levy doesn’t pass, Saxton grew emotional talking about cuts that would take place to staff, the arts, and more.

“This is the tough part about it,” he said. “If you think we could we take that scalpel and not cut people, it’s not possible.”

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