The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport district is prepared with post-election plans

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The Groveport Madison school district has two separate plans ready to put into effect once voters decide the fate of a combined 6.18-mill operating levy and 2.74-mill bond issue on the May 6 ballot.

Both were approved at a special board of education meeting Feb. 26.

One lists the programs and activities to be reinstated if the operating levy and bond issue are approved. One details further budget cuts, including the elimination of all extracurricular activities and the loss of 32 jobs.

Both sets of recommendations were made by Superintendent Bruce Hoover.

"I thought it was important for us to state at this meeting our intentions, whether this levy passes or fails, because it is important that the community understands what we can provide if we pass this issue, as well as the ramification of a failure," Hoover said.

"This set of actions will either help to keep our kids competitive or might reduce programs further, based on what we can no longer afford."

Board member Nathan Slonaker said the list of actions should be no surprise to the community.

"None of the items are a surprise," Slonaker said. "Of course, what we want to do is here is just make official what we've discussed publicly in meetings for months now."

The board unanimously approved Hoover's recommendations.

 

If the levy passes

If the levy and bond issue are approved, the district will:

* Restore high school busing and reinstate busing to all students over a one-mile radius from their school buildings.

* Phase in new college and career readiness programs, with an emphasis on STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) for grades 5-12.

* Increase the number of Advanced Placement course offerings.

* Reinstate all athletics and extracurricular programs.

* Fund the integration of an educational technology plan at all grade levels.

* Begin planning and construction of a new high school.

* Allocate $1 million for the immediate maintenance and repair needs at the current high school until a new building opens in three years.

* Maintain a carryover fund of $3 million by 2017, the equivalent of one month of payroll for the district.

* Establish an independent citizens task force to review and communicate the use of taxpayer investments.

According to Hoover, the citizens task force would likely be made up of volunteers and officials currently serving on various advisory groups in the district, along with some additional parent involvement.

"Currently, we have several independent advisory groups we'd like to pull together to have them review and help with the facility planning, and phase in financial review to make sure we're being transparent and responsible with taxpayer funds," Hoover said.

 

If the levy fails

If voters reject the levy and bond issue, the district will:

* Continue with busing cuts, including no high school busing. State minimum busing will be provided for students in grades K-8, which means no busing for students who live within a two-mile radius of the school.

* Eliminate all athletic and extracurricular programs at all grade levels, which means all buildings will close 30 minutes after the final school bell.

* Eliminate all K-8 art and music programs, but maintain a state-mandated high school fine arts credit.

* Further reduce staffing by 27 teachers, two guidance counselors, two administrators and one clerical position.

* Evaluate the possibility of closing one school and consolidating the middle schools.

* As necessary, reduce additional staff and programs to meet financial stabilization goals.

Hoover said that by taking these steps, the district would also be able to meet the financial stabilization goal of no longer borrowing from future years' budgets to make current year expenses, and ultimately would be able to provide the $3-million carryover that district Treasurer Tony Swartz has previously pointed to as a minimum standard.

The district will hold several "State of the District" events where Hoover will address a variety of topics, with question-and-answer periods included. Tours of the current high school facilities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Hoover's remarks beginning at 7 p.m., March 6, 13, 19 and 27, at the high school auditorium, 4475 S. Hamilton Road.

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