The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Voters in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District will see an emergency operating levy on the May ballot.

The B-C-S school board has unanimously voted to place the $1.32 million, 5-year issue on the ballot in the hopes of fending off a projected budget deficit in fiscal year 2013.

Tied to the board’s decision to seek the millage was another recent decision to realign the district by closing Rocky Ridge Elementary School.

That move, board members say, will help the district save revenue and reduce the amount sought in the levy.

Following a year of austere budget tightening measures, Northwood ended 2010 with a balanced budget, Mayor Mark Stoner said in his state of the city address last week.

“The message for 2011 is one of both challenge and confidence,” said Stoner.

“Just like our citizens, the city has been adversely affected by the economic downturn of the last few years. To meet the various challenges, council and I have had to make difficult decisions regarding reductions in spending, personnel and capital improvement projects,” said Stoner.

The reductions allowed the city to finish the 2010 fiscal year with higher revenues than expenditures and met the requirement of having a balanced budget, he said.

Preparations for the closing of Webster Elementary School in the Eastwood district have already begun with administrators holding a meeting last week for parents to discuss the transition set to go into effect in the 2011-12 school year.

Brent Welker, superintendent, said teachers and the administration plan to develop class lists in March for students in grades one through four, allowing students and their parents a chance to meet teachers this year.

The current first and third grade Webster classes will be moving to Pemberville Elementary School due to a lack of space at Luckey Elementary School, creating an additional section at those grade levels.

A $1.5 million solar array project is underway at the Pilkington Research and Development Center in Northwood.

The project includes the installation of solar panels on a one-acre Brownfield site originating from the company’s former East Toledo float plant. Pilkington once used the area as a sand pond, which has gone through a clean-up process.

“In order to take advantage of recycling the Brownfield property, we’re installing the solar array to reuse the property and put it back into a beneficial use,” said Kara A. Allison, spokesperson for Hull & Associates, an engineering, energy and environmental consulting firm that has partnered with Pilkington to install the ground mounted solar panels.

The large-scale panels will be mounted on posts and built out in rows, according Allison.

A formal recommendation to close the Rocky Ridge Elementary School building is expected to be presented this week to the Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education.

Superintendent Diane Kershaw, who recommended the closing to the board at its Dec. 15 special meeting, said declining enrollment is the primary reason for the facility and finance committees to decide closing the school is the best option for the district.

The board is scheduled to meet Jan. 11.

“Due to declining enrollment, we have an opportunity to combine our elementary buildings which will lead to additional operational efficiencies,” she said in a prepared statement.

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