By Leigh Ann Rutledge
March 19, 2013
The need for an emergency operating levy in the Carrollton Exempted Village School District is very real.
That was the message conveyed by Carrollton Superintendent Dr. David Quattrochi when he spoke to members of the Carrollton Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni last week.
He was there, he said, to give an explanation why the school district is placing a 5.3 mill emergency operating levy on the May 7 special election ballot and how revenue will be used if the levy passes.
The last time the school district had a tax levy in force was in 1977. However, projections by the district’s treasurer show the district will be “in the red” by 2015 if the financial situation stays status quo.
School districts receive revenue from three sources: federal, state and local revenues. Carrollton Schools receive around 51 percent of their revenue from the state of Ohio and a limited amount from the federal government.
“We run the district similar to a business,” Quattrochi noted. “We have to balance our budget each year. It is not an option.”
The district has taken numerous steps to cut expenditures since Fiscal Year (FY) 2004. Some of these cuts included: closing three outlining elementary schools and the Vet’s Swimming Pool which saved an accumulated $500,000, eliminating 15 bus routes saving $1 million, eliminating four certified administrator positions and reducing staff (40 teachers, 12 cooks, 15 bus drivers and seven secretaries) and other reductions totaling $3 million.
He said the district has lost over $2 million in state and federal aid from FY 2011 to FY 2012. The district operates on an approximate yearly general fund budget of $20 million and overspent its revenue by $800,000 in FY 2012.
According to Quattrochi, due to loss of revenue and increasing costs, the district needs approximately $2.3 million per year to operate in the black over the life of the current five-year forecast.
“Why am I talking about 2015 now?” asked Quattrochi. “I want to be proactive, not reactive. We are asking for a limited five-year emergency tax commitment which averages about $14 per month for a home appraised at $100,000.”
Carrollton School District will not receive any financial aid for school year 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 according to Governor Kasich’s school funding proposal. Figures show the district needs to cut $500,000 for the next school year and unfortunately attrition is the first priority.
“There is a lot of potential here,” stated Quattrochi. “We need an emergency levy to get us through for a limited five-year period.”
One area a portion of the revenue will be spent on is safety.
Quattrochi told the group, “It is imperative we have a resource officer for numerous reasons to be utilized for more than just standing at the door with a gun.”
He has a commitment from Carroll County Sheriff Dale R. Williams to pay half the salary of a resource officer. Williams said he told Quattrochi about six months ago if the district would “step up the plate” he would try to find the money to pay for half the salary of a certified deputy to be assigned to the school district.
Revenue will also be spent keeping neighborhood schools open, continuing music and art programs, and maintaining current class sizes.
He said one area that would not be cut was transportation.
“I will tell you now I will never cut transportation. I couldn’t sleep if I did,” he stated.
Maintaining the high level of academics is also important along with keep extra curricular activities in tact.
“We are a school of excellence with distinction,” he said. “We need to keep the momentum going and it needs to be a grassroots effort from the parents and grandparents in the district; everyone who has a vested interest in the area.”
A Facebook page is being developed and he is working on other avenues to get the word out, such as going door-to-door, activities and events and even “coffee socials” where he will visit homes of people with mixed views and discuss the situation and future.
Currently, he is working with a contact in Cleveland regarding the possibility of a gas and oil academy. “We are trying to move forward even though we are facing a tough situation,” said Quattrochi.
Groups or individuals who would like Quattrochi to make a presentation can contact him at the Administration Office by calling 330-627-2181.