A five-year district forecast Wauseon school board members approved last Friday paints a precarious picture of substantially lower revenue and escalating costs.
Although voters approved a vital 3.87-mill substitute levy Nov. 3 to maintain the school district presently, the $835,000 it will generate annually, along with added revenue it will include from new local construction projects, still won’t keep ahead of finances over the next five years, according to a district report.
“Flat funding for K-12 education looking out into the future is not a realistic strategy for the Ohio legislature,” the report reads. “It has been difficult enough for the district to absorb significant increases in expenses over these past several years and we continue to find ourselves in a position of searching for creative ways to plug the holes in the many areas where we are experiencing reductions in funding.”
The reports states the school district will be unable to absorb both inflationary costs and unfunded state and federal mandates without more funding. “The district is going to have to come up with a long-term funding plan soon that will cover our costs of operations in order to maintain a position of solvency,” it reads.
If that proves too difficult the next step would be major cuts in expenditures, the report says. The school district attributes its current financial woes, in part, to the economic downturn created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Treasurer David Fleming said the district did save $6,000 this year by preparing the five-year report in-house, “and my intent is to keep doing that.”
In other business, the school board approved the following donations: $350 from Worthington Industries to the school district’s transportation department to purchase coats; $500 in school supplies from Walmart to the primary school; and $500 from Fulton County Pork Producers to the school district’s FFA.
Board members also approved a “now and then” certificate for $5,894.20 for COVID supplies; and the following personnel items: the Rachel Wixey and Associates substitute list; a one-year limited certificated supplemental contract to Chris Zirkle as the archery advisor; Tammy Ankney, Jill Armstrong, Troy Armstrong, Shelly Borton, Mark Britsch, Chad Burt, Mike Colon, Casey Elson, Tracy Elson, Joy Hutchinson, Matt Hutchinson, Keith Leatherman, Ryan O’Dell, Ashley Oyer, Bob Schultz, and Santana Villarreal as Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament workers, retroactive to Oct. 17, Oct. 22, and Oct. 24; and volunteer coaches Alan Albright, junior high wrestling; Todd Bingham and Kevin Kreiner, archery; and Eric Puehler, high school wrestling.
Blake Young, primary school principal, gave a presentation on PAX Good Behavior Game, a program designed to teach primary and elementary school children self-regulation and self-thought in and out of the classroom.
Young said results have shown PAX implementation has decreased off-task, problematic, and disruptive behavior from students by 75% over three months. The program can also result in better test scores and higher graduation rates.
He said the program’s strategies focus on all students, particularly those living in traumatic atmospheres.
“We know the students in our community have changed over even the last 10 years, coming from just different home situations that are correlated to trauma,” he told board members.
The school district employs the PAX program to train students to cope with trauma and help them retain those skills throughout their lifetimes. Young said the program can help lead traumatized students away from possible futures of alcoholism, drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, and mental health issues.
PAX involves changing the language faculty and staff members use with students to encourage self-regulation and thought.
“PAX is developed to help kids with the self-regulation and self thought…so we’re not having those abuses when they get older,” Young said.
School board members approved a motion to thank the community for its support of a 3.87-mill levy on the Nov. 3 ballot.
“(It’s) important that the board recognize the community for their continued support of the school district,” Superintendent Troy Armstrong said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.