Friday, November 21, 2003

Lakota schools warn of cuts

Tax-increase proposal will go before voters in March, but size not yet decided

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

LIBERTY TWP. - Prepare for cuts.

That's the message Lakota educators are readying after reviewing numbers for a March tax-increase proposal. ballot issue. Those numbers show a $15 million deficit in Ohio's eighth-largest school district by June 2005.

The district is the only one among Ohio's 10 largest to receive an excellent rating - the highest ranking possible - on the state report card. But good grades don't prevent budget problems.

Lakota Treasurer Alan Hutchinson said it would take 12 mills - about $25 million a year- to keep the district solvent for four years and open three new schools called for in a facilities plan.

Add $68 million to pay for construction, plus $9 millionto renovate existing schools and almost $8 million to upgrade/convert Liberty Elementary into an early childhood center, buy land and other projects and you end up with another 2.44 mills.

And that, board members say, is too much to ask voters for. They want to put an issue on the March ballot that remains under 10 mills.

A 10-mill tax increase would add about $312 to the tax bill of an owner of a $100,000 home.

"I think we've got to make some cuts," said board member Dan Warncke.

While those cuts aren't yet known, educators say they could result in larger class sizes and fewer new employees because wages and benefits make up about 87 percent of the budget.

"It will not be the same look we're used to," Hutchinson said.

Contributing to the budget woes, Hutchinson said, is reduced money from the state, 1,667 additionalstudents since the last levy passed in 2000 and double-digit increases in health care costs last year and again this year that are expected to continue.

Revenue from taxes businesses pay on inventory is also down, Hutchinson said.

Superintendent Kathleen Klink and other administrators met Thursday and began looking for areas to cut spending.

Administrators will bring options for board members to review before making a decision on what to put on the March 2 ballot. The deadline is Dec. 18.


Archdiocese found guilty of failing to report abuse
Mike Allen's statement on plea agreement
Despite plea, few see need for bishop's exit
Some of faithful content with plea
Fund for victims has a big catch
Ask a question about the Archdiocese's plea

Jazz fans tune in to Mama
Con man gets 23 years
Man dies crossing Ohio Pike

Trustees delay parking change
Batavia schools tighten belts
Alum endows Miami U. faculty post in finance
Bus driver charged in death of pedestrian
Supporters rally behind county plan for future
City turns over Empire fiasco documents to FBI
Lakota schools warn of cuts
Photo brings out splendor of lit-up river, Tall Stacks
Dancers practice for big parade
Regional Report
Firm gets rights to Children's heart drug
West asks to be own lawyer

Downs: Got $100,000 that's burning a hole in your pocket?
Howard; Good Things Happening

Ronald Fein was court magistrate
Catherine C. Borchers gave time to children
Kentucky Obituaries

Legislative counsel charged in 'naked photographer' case
Taft threatens to veto bill allowing concealed guns
Ohio Moments

Anime convention may draw 1,000 to N.Ky.
Three die when plane crashes near college
African singers are just kids, too
Diocese wants judge removed
Traffic study under review in Kenton Co.
Kentucky to do