Thursday, April 1, 2004

Ludlow to lop school expenses

Money must be found to replace old roof of elementary

By Karen Gutierrez
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LUDLOW - To save money next year, the Ludlow Independent School District may consider laying off staff, dropping preschool for some 4-year-olds or delaying the purchase of a new bus for disabled children.

Those were among the options mentioned Wednesday by Superintendent Elizabeth Grause, who also must find money to replace the 50-year-old roof on Ludlow Elementary School.

The school board had hoped to do so with a property-tax increase that would have added about $43 a year to the taxes on a $75,800 house, the median property value in Ludlow.

But the measure failed on Tuesday by a vote of 509-367 amid a heated campaign. One tax opponent was charged with attempting to buy a citizen's "no" vote for a 12-pack of beer - a charge that briefly landed Ludlow on the national news.

"I'm a little disappointed it didn't pass, but I do understand. We came on at a time right after several city taxes were imposed," school board member Bill McMillen said. The additional tax proved too much for people, he said.

The Ludlow school system already has made various cuts to compensate for a decline in state funding.

This school year, positions for a high school teacher, first-grade teacher and sixth-grade teacher were eliminated. A technology training program was dropped. A secretary and a school librarian had their hours cut.

Now Grause is considering another use for the $75,000 the district had set aside to buy a new bus to transport disabled students to special programs outside of Ludlow.

The board also may eliminate preschool for 4-year-olds not at risk for learning problems. Districts get state money to provide preschool only for at-risk children, but Ludlow had made it available to all 4-year-olds at a local cost of about $37,200 a year.


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