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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Plans for additional spending cuts have been put in place if an emergency levy on the May 3 ballot in the Woodmore School District should fail.

The Woodmore school board last week approved the list of cuts, which includes eliminating busing for student field trips, eliminating up to four teaching positions at the high school, and aligning the elementary school so that there are a maximum of three classrooms per grade level, said John Fernbaugh, district superintendent.

Establishing the three-classroom maximum at the elementary school would result in “significantly” larger class sizes, he said.

Voters next week will decide the fate of a 3.95-mill, 5-year levy that will generate approximately $600,000 annually for the district if passed.

District officials anticipate a deficit in the general fund by July 1,  2012.

Another factor the board must weigh is the loss of state funding in the next biennial budget.

Fernbaugh said a study is underway on the district’s busing costs and cutting high school transportation may be an option if state aid drops to the point where the board and administration feel they have to adopt more austerity measures.

The board previously decided to eliminate five positions, including two high school teachers, two elementary school teachers, all of whom are retiring and won’t be replaced, and a retiring bus driver, who also won’t be replaced. Instead the district’s bus routes will be consolidated.

Those cuts, which will save the district about $235,000, will remain in place even if the levy passes, he said.

The board and administration will host a final forum May 2 at 7 p.m. at the high school cafeteria to discuss the levy and the district’s financial situation.

Fernbaugh said he’s been encouraged by the public participation in the previous forums.

“In general it’s been positive,” he said. “There has been a groundswell of people. It’s refreshing.”

Volunteers have been distributing campaign literature about the levy and contacting residents who didn’t vote in November when a levy was defeated, he added.

In other business last week, the school board approved a resolution authorizing a purchase agreement for a building on Rice Street in Elmore for $150,000.

The board intends to buy the building from Diversified Insurance and then lease the upper floor to the company for $1,000 a month for 10 years.

If the purchase is completed, the board would vacate a building on Water Street in Woodville it now leases for $800 a month and utilize the ground floor of the Elmore building.

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