December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Midview chief: Don’t vote against levy because of Kasich plan

Midview Superintendent John Kuhn on Friday pleaded with voters not to use Gov. John Kasich’s new funding plan for schools as a reason for rejecting a levy Tuesday.

The district is seeking a 9.75-mill, 10-year emergency levy to stave off drastic cuts, including the shortening of the school day, the elimination of all extracurricular activities such as sports and band, and the cutting of special programming, such as JROTC, as the result of teacher and staff layoffs.

If the levy fails, some of the cuts will occur this school year, and the remainder will be implemented in the fall for the 2013-14 school year.

On Thursday, Kasich announced an overhaul to how schools are funding across the state. The plan was short on specifics, but he pledged to create funding parity between poorer and wealthier districts.

“The governor’s plan, at this point, is still just a proposal,” Kuhn said in a release Friday. “It still has to go through the legislative process at the state level, and the plan will most likely come out looking quite different than it did going in. Midview is still operating under the current funding model. We still need the levy to pass so we don’t have to begin making cuts that will be devastating to our district.”

Kuhn said districts are supposed to learn next week how Kasich’s plan will impact them. He also noted that Kasich built the plan around the fact that Ohio’s economy continues to rebound and grow.

“If the economy stalls or declines, this proposed funding could go away,” he said. “It’s important for everyone to realize that even if the plan goes through as-is, it will not change our reliance on local tax dollars.”

Midview voters have not approved a levy for new money for 19 years; only renewals of levies already in place have passed.

The district opted for a special election — it’s the only issue on Tuesday’s ballot — in hopes of closing a $2.3 million deficit. The district lost nearly $1.3 million in funding from the state and another $750,000 annually as a result of the elimination of tangible personal property tax. The district had received federal stimulus money beginning in 2009 that was used to offset revenue declines, but that money was available for only three years and is now gone.