Jeff Carpenter, treasurer of the Lake Local School District, describes a recent annual meeting of Ohio School Business Officials in Columbus as a “tale of woe.”
“Everything geared around the loss of funding,” he said last week.
The Lake school board has agreed to again seek more local revenues, voting April 18 to place a 6.75-mill, 3-year operating levy on the August ballot.
Carpenter said he’s received certification from the Wood County auditor’s office the millage would generate approximately $1.47 million annually if approved.
Spending cuts announced in March would remain in effect if the levy passes, according to the administration, but additional cuts could be averted.
Voters rejected requests for an additional 4.75 mills last August and November.
Lake schools, like school districts across Ohio, have realized losses of federal, state, and local funding, Carpenter said, adding interest income from the district’s invested revenues also has fallen sharply in recent years.
He estimates Lake has lost about $1.6 million more from those sources this year than last year. Lower valuations alone have sliced revenues from local property taxes by about 15 percent,
While sports and extra-curricular activities haven’t been totally axed, the board has cut from programs by eliminating assistant coaching and advisor positions in the last round of cuts.
That move saves about $53,000, Carpenter said.
“It makes no sense for people to say you place sports over academics,” he said.
Dropping sports completely would probably result in many students leaving Lake for other districts, taking their state aid funding with them, Carpenter said.
“There is no question about how bad it is,” he said of the district’s financial condition.