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Leetonia treasurer forecasts red ink ahead

May 29, 2008
LEETONIA— School Treasurer Larry Syverson voiced his concerns about the five-year forecast at the Leetonia school board meeting Wednesday night.

With an estimated $491,000 deficit at the end of the 2007-2008 school year and a $2.1 million deficit from the past two years combined, Syverson said the problem is in the revenue, not the expenditures. Even though the deficit will be covered, the balance is decreasing rapidly, thus the necessity for the levy, he said.

“The financial situation is not a surprise,” he said. “We knew this was coming, but we have been able to put of asking the public for money for three years. Now we need it.”

According to Syverson, the state pays for 70 percent of the school’s operation. The local property owner only pays 22 percent, a bargain for the education their children get, he said.

Operating with 71 percent of the budget spent on wages and salary, the school falls below the typical 80 percent spent on wages, and cutting faculty is not an option, Syverson said.

“It’s astounding to me that we have to cut teachers because the public doesn’t want to help support our force of teachers who help their children learn,” he said. “It’s tough to cut staff without it affecting the curriculum.”

Since the 2002-2003 school year, the school has eliminated nine teaching positions, but have added, through necessity, five positions, Syverson said concerning the difficulty in cutting faculty.

In other business, the board:

¯ approved the contract between itself and the Leetonia Education Association;

¯ abolished the position of Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Supervisor, effective July 1;

¯ hired Troy Radinsky as 7-12 principal to a three-year contract, effective August 1;

¯ approved the 7-12 Student Handbook for the 2008-2009 school year, with changes posted on the Web site for parents and guardians to view;

¯ accepted the following donations: $500 from the American legion for the boys basketball account; $500 from the Leetonia Band Boosters for the Band general fund; $500 from the Leetonia Athletic Boosters for the baseball batting cage; $200 from the VFW for the boys basketball account; $100 from the Sons of the American Legion for the golf fund; and $857.57 from Leadership Columbiana County, Inc., for the 2008-2009 DARE program;

¯ authorized Syverson to apply for a instructional materials waiver from the Department of Education. The waiver will keep the school in compliance with state requirements concerning the purchase of textbooks and other instructional materials. Superintendent Robert Rostan informed the board that new text book series would not be bought because the text books in use now are still current. The waiver can only be used once every three years, he said.

¯ Rostan introduced Dan Votaw as the chairman of the Levy Campaign.

¯ A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 4 in the school’s library to discuss the Levy Campaign.

¯ The next school board meeting is scheduled for June 25 in room 20 of the k-12 campus.

Kevin Howell can be reached at'>


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