Niles Schools Face Changes

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In a time of transition for Niles City Schools, students and teachers are moving into brand new buildings throughout the district. However just last month, a pair of operating levies were soundly defeated by voters in the May primary.

There was a bit of good news at Monday night’s special meeting and work session at Niles Board of Education.

Projections from Columbus show a 6 percent increase in state funding for fiscal year 2014, and more in 2015. If the budget passes as is, it will give the district a positive cash balance for its five-year forecast.

“And we have to base our decisions on the most up to date information from the state,” said Frank Danso, interim superintendent of Niles City Schools.

The state budget must be passed by June 30. The board then has until the beginning of August to decide whether or not to go back to voters for another levy try in November.

The school board also voted 4-1 to approve the purchase and installation of field turf here at Niles Bo Rein Stadium. They’re hoping a $200,000 grant from the NFL will help pay for the project.

If the grant falls through, the bill goes to the board, and private fund raising efforts.

“You’re making this commitment to put in $35,000 a year for I don’t know how many years, and yet we have other needs that have been around longer than the need for turf,” said Niles Education Association president and retiring teacher, Mary Ann McMahon.

McMahon said she’s not against the turf, but she questions the timing.

The State Auditor recently recommended cuts to staff and services to save the district more than $1.3 million.

“I guess that’s my concern, that the board was willing to go on the hook for that money, at year not on the hook for these other situations,” added McMahon.

Danso said he’ll meet soon with building principals to discuss staffing for next school year.

Contracts with certified and classified staff are also up at the end of December.

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