Schools Depending on Levy Passage

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Four schools in Trumbull County have five additional levies on the May ballot.

Brookfield, Champion, Newton Falls and Niles are looking to pass levies to avoid further cuts in their respective districts.

Brookfield Superintendent Timothy Saxton said his district has made $500,000 in cuts to staffing and programs at the elementary and high schools. The district is in fiscal watch and has worked with the same operating money since 1995, which is the last time an operating levy has passed there. If the current levy fails, the state will take control of the district.

“They could potentially implement additional cuts. They could recommend busing be taken away. They could recommend moving from a full day kindergarten to a half day kindergarten,” said Saxton. “There are a lot of options they have and could implement.”

Champion has a very similar problem to Brookfield. Not only is the district in deficit spending, but it is facing major cuts in both federal and state funding.

School libraries have been closed and programs have been cut. Class sizes are larger too, and there haven’t been any raises.

The levy would help recoup what the state took and maintain current expenditures. Superintendent Pamela Hood said a no vote on May 7 will do more than just hurt the school.

“When you say no to that kind of tax, you are basically impacting your property value down the road,” said Hood. “Somewhere you want to sell your house, somewhere you want to maintain your property value.”

The Niles School district is facing a $2.5 million deficit and wants to replace aging technology.

“We have two new elementary schools that will be opening in the fall, and we need to put technology in there for our students and combined with that, our middle school is approximately ten years old,” said interim superintendent Frank Danso. “The technology in that school is beginning to need repair and replaced.”

A state audit revealed Niles may not be doing enough to trim the fat. According to the audit, cutting 15 staff and custodial positions and increasing employee health insurance contributions could save the district $1.3 million.

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