Major cuts have been a part of the Edison Local School District for a while now.
The school district has experienced major cuts in state funding and other sources, which has meant cuts within the schools for years.
That's why it's crucial that the 9.45-mill levy on Tuesday's ballot is approved. The levy would generate approximately $3 million year and would go toward maintaining existing programs and preventing additional cuts and closures in the district.
It's important to note that school administrators don't want to add any new programs with the levy funds. 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.
Let's not forget the district has lost $900,000 in stimulus money and approximately $500,000 in funding from the state, and because of that, it has had to cut 97 positions in the last seven years. Though most of those positions were lost through attrition, the district still hasn't been able to fill those empty seats.
Despite these many cuts and the fact that not too many years ago the district was put on fiscal watch by the Ohio Department of Education, Edison has persevered.
For the second year in a row, Edison was deemed excellent by the Ohio Department of Education, and that's 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.
With the failure of the levy in November, Edison administrators did what they had to do to keep the district looking forward, and they've come up with a budget plan that will go into effect if the levy does not pass on Tuesday. That plan would reduce the school district's budget by the needed $1.5 million to operate out of deficit and includes cuts to certified and classified salaries and wages; transportation cuts, including eliminating busing for ninth through 12th grades; changes to extracurricular activities, such as pay to participate; and consumable supplies and book fees.
Steps the district already has taken to cut expenditures include saving $700,000 by switching to fully funded health insurance where employees are charged premiums; $1.1 million from the closing of Richmond, Irondale and Springfield schools; and close to $400,000 by eliminating preschool busing and re-routing the remaining routes, which is down from 30 routes a few years ago to now just 22.
We think voters in the district should also know that on average many Ohio school districts spend 90 percent of their budgets on teachers' salaries and benefits. That's not the case with Edison, as only 69 percent of the budget goes to pay teachers, staff and benefits.
The cost for the 9.45-mill levy to homeowners in the district would be minimal. For a $100,000 home, it will cost an extra $24 per month. And senior citizens, through the Homestead Exemption, would only pay $18 per month.
If the levy does not pass, the school district will have to cut even deeper, meaning a devastating impact on the quality education everyone has come to expect from Edison Local. Beyond that, we believe no one wants to see the state take over the district or even possibly consolidate with a neighboring district.
That's why we are encouraging all voters to support the levy for the Edison Local School District on Tuesday.