Basic operating expenses is what voters in the Edison Local School District are being asked to help maintain with the 9.45-mill levy in a special election on Tuesday.
The continuous levy would aid the school district in maintaining existing programs, plain and simple. There are no frills being funded with this levy, administrators want the voters to know.
School administrators don't want to add any new programs with the approximately $3 million that would be generated each year from the levy - they're just hoping to be able to put the money back into the classrooms and to stay in the black for another five years.
There are approximately 2,000 students in the school district, and they travel from as far away as Knoxville, Hammondsville, Amsterdam and Bergholz, among other nearby communities and hamlets.
Let's not forget the district has lost approximately $2.1 million in permanent revenue, stemming from three sources, including a loss of $700,000 in property taxes garnered from FirstEnergy Corp.; a $470,000 loss due to changes in the way state tax is reimbursed to school districts; and a $949,813 loss in funds from federal stimulus funds.
And because of that, the school district had to cut 97 positions in the last seven years. In fact the district's staff has been cut from 245 people in the 2010-11 school year to 199 staffers for this school year, and the end result is being below the recommended (state) staffing level now, according to a state audit.
Voters, too, must remember that students playing sports in the Edison Local School District are doing so because money from their parents or other sources is paying for them to play.
Despite the many cuts in work force and the pay-to-play standard, as well as the fact that not too many years ago the district was put on fiscal watch by the Ohio Department of Education, Edison has come shining through. The school district recently was deemed excellent by the ODE - a testament to the quality administrators, teachers and students.
Area voters should remember, too, that students right now have an opportunity to take more than 40 college credit hours without leaving the high school and produce the highest average ACT scores in the county.
The cost for the 9.45-mill levy to homeowners in the district would be minimal. For a $50,000 home, it will cost $144 per year. And senior citizens, through the Homestead Exemption, would pay $72 for the year.
If the levy does not pass, the school district will have to cut even deeper, and administrators have said one of the first cuts would be busing for students in grades nine through 12. Another cost-cutting step would be closing Pleasant Hill Elementary School.
We still believe that no one wants to see the state take over the district or even possibly consolidate with a neighboring district, which could become a reality sooner than later.
We support the upcoming levy for the Edison Local School District and encourage all voters to do the same.