The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

March 28, 2013

District hoping for state loan

Would pay to bring back teachers

BROOKFIELD — To balance its money woes and educational responsibilities, Brookfield school district is hoping to borrow money from a state solvency fund to replace laid off teachers so it can meet  minimum state standards.

A staffing audit released this week by the Ohio Department of Education shows that comparable school districts have on average about seven more teachers than Brookfield.  Superintendent Tim Saxton, said that reflects the number of teachers laid off last year.

The district, facing a nearly $1 million deficit, has been working to cut spending. Brookfield officials say it means the district faces an almost certain declaration of fiscal emergency in the coming weeks even though it has already laid off teachers and eliminating some classes, particularly art, language and home economics.

The board had other options, including pay-to-play fees for athletics and extra-curricular activities, as well as eliminating busing but has not taken those steps yet.

Saxton said previously he welcomed the staffing audit, because it would make the case for recalling laid off teachers and possibly hiring  an additional teacher or two. Directors met in executive session Tuesday to discuss different scenarios and said they hoped any decisions they made to bring the staffing levels back up would be accepted by the state, and not eliminated during a state takeover.

State auditors will shortly  certify the exact amount of the debt, said Treasurer David Drawl. The debt for 2013 is about $981,000 and will grow to more than $2.1 million in two years without an infusion of money, according to information released by the district.

Directors discussed bringing back elementary school teachers, a home economics teacher and other combinations, though they did not vote on any of it. “In the end, though, you have to see where the dollars are behind that,” said director Tim Filipovich.

Saxton said a fiscal emergency declaration would qualify the district to borrow money from the state.

“But of course, it is more debt you are taking on,” Saxton said. “Of the recommendations that were made to me, if the money were free flowing, I would say absolutely, do all of it. But given our situation, we have to balance what we need for staffing versus what we can live with in debt.”

About 73 percent of the district’s $22 million budget is for salaries and while the number of students has remained steady at 1,151, state mandates require the district offer some curriculum that it currently doesn’t because there aren’t enough teachers, Saxton said.

“I’ve asked the question before and I’ll say it again ‘What do we want our district to look like?’ The heaviest cuts from last year are shown in this staffing audit,” he said.

The school’s money troubles worsened last year after voters said no to a 1-percent income tax that could have netted the district an additional $1.4 million a year.

Cuts in state funding along with a significant loss of revenue to online charter schools has left the district no choice but to go back to the taxpayers, directors said, and ask for a 4.85-mill operating levy on the May 7 ballot.

A homeowner with a house valued at $100,000 could expect to pay about another $30 a year, Saxton said, if the levy passes.

The levy committee will meet at 7 p.m. April 3 in the library to go over the district’s finances and try and raise community support, Saxton said.  Additionally, students and administrators will go door-to-door on April 27 and 28 asking for support, along with a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m to 1p.m. on April 28.

The uncertainty of the district’s finances is already causing delays that are affecting students, said Jo Taylor, high school principal. Usually by this time each  year course schedules are offered to students for the coming year.

“We have none of that done. We don’t know what or who we are going to have available. We can’t schedule kids and then not have the classes. We are in trouble,” she said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • To demolish or not Tear it down? Fix it up?

    In 2007, Richard D. Givens bought a home at 831 Knobwood Drive in Hermitage for $245,000.
    Today, the city of Hermitage is seeking the demolition of the now-vacant house, arguing the damage from water infiltration makes the structure not worth saving.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo