Thursday, September 30, 2004

As levy vote nears, Lakota ponders cutbacks in busing

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

LIBERTY TWP. - Bus transportation for Lakota high school students could be cut if the Nov. 2 levy fails, but some school board members say the disruption it would cause isn't worth the money saved.

Ending busing for grades 10-12 in January would save the district about $103,000 for the remainder of the school year after factoring in the loss of transportation dollars the district receives from the Ohio Department of Education.

"For a $100,000 savings, it's not worth it," said board member Daniel Warncke.

But Warncke didn't rule out the possibility of ending busing for high-schoolers if busing cuts also were made for grades K-9.

The board has asked school officials to re-examine the busing issue and come back next month with more information.

Superintendent Kathleen Klink and Treasurer Alan Hutchinson said spending would have to be cut by $13 million over the next two school years to balance the budget if the levy is defeated.

The levy would provide $12.4 million annually for day-to-day operations and $80.3 million to build three schools and expand Lakota East and West high schools.

After the defeat of a larger levy last March, board members had agreed that busing for grades 10-12 would end in January if a November levy didn't pass, based on an estimated cost savings of nearly $400,000, which included limiting busing for some students in grades K-9 who live within one-half mile of their school.

State law requires school districts to bus students in grades K-8 who live two miles or farther from their school.

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