The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport Madison schools

Fiscal stability plan slated for May 16 vote

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The Groveport Madison Board of Education met in special session April 25 to consider two finance-related items.

One was a resolution that promises the district will not place another levy on the ballot for at least five years if a levy on the May 7 primary ballot is approved. The second was a "fiscal stability plan" that outlines a reorganization that would save the district $2.1 million regardless of the levy outcome. If voters reject the levy, the plan includes ways to bring those budget adjustments to nearly $4.7 million.

The resolution, which was approved unanimously, was presented by board member Nathan Slonaker.

It says the district will not ask voters for additional operating funds for five years if the current 7.08-mill levy request passes unless there are "unforeseen reductions to state or federal funding."

Slonaker said he suggested the measure so the community would understand that the board was not going to continually ask for more money.

"I proposed the resolution as a way to show the community that we could achieve fiscal stability with the passage of this levy," he said. "If the levy passes, the voters would not see another operating for five years."

According to the district's five-year forecast presented to the Ohio Department of Education last year, Groveport Madison schools face a nearly $438,000 budget hole by June 30 and a $4.7 million deficit by the end of the next school year without levy approval.

The fiscal stability plan and its various reorganizational components is slated for a vote at the school board's May 16 meeting.

Superintendent Bruce Hoover said the reorganizational plan would save the district about $4.8 million through reorganization and cuts.

Regardless of whether the levy passes, the fiscal plan calls for a reorganization to save approximately $2.1 million through changing attendance boundaries for Groveport Madison elementary schools and restructuring the district's middle school and junior high buildings.

Part of the potential savings, which Business Manager Larry Ricchi explained to the board March 28, would come from establishing three middle schools for students in grades six through eight and reducing the number of buses needed from 39 to 27.

Additional savings would come from shortening the remaining routes and adjusting teaching and staffing assignments.

If the levy fails, the district would have to shave another $2.6 million off its operating budget. To do this, the fiscal stability plan lists the elimination of busing for high school students, physical education classes and media specialist positions.

The board would also be asked to consider the "consolidation" of some sports and extracurricular activities, including football, volleyball, basketball for girls and boys, softball, baseball, cheerleading, band and choir.

"All other supplementals and athletic programs will be converted to club activities and will not be funded by Groveport Madison Local Schools," the document states.

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