With loss in state funding, Boardman Schools hope for new levy

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – There’s a good chance Boardman voters will be asked to pay more for their schools. On Wednesday, the school board took the first step toward placing a levy on the May ballot and if it doesn’t pass, the board says there will be cuts.

Wednesday’s school board meeting took just three minutes —  enough time to pass the first reading for a new 5.8 mill levy to generate $4.9 million annually for ten years.

“We are going to make this last ten years. This is going to be a ten-year plan,” Superintendent Tim Saxton said.

There was no discussion at the meeting itself but afterward, the treasurer, president and superintendent answered some questions.

If the levy fails, they didn’t give any specifics but did say it would have a big impact.

“Top to bottom, we’re going to have to reevaluate staffing. That’ll affect class sizes, transportation and even athletics,” said Treasurer Nicholas Ciarniello.

The district projects a year-end deficit of $3.4 million.

First, because the state eliminating the Tangible Personal Property Tax cost $3.4 million a year. Boardman’s a property-rich district, which makes it a capped district. It can’t get more than $9.4 million in state funding.

The reclassification of St. Elizabeth Hospital to a non-profit also cost a million dollars.

“We don’t want to position it as a threat. We want to fight the good fight to the very end and that’s what we’re going to do,” said School Board President Jeff Barone. “That’s why we’re here and we have the talent here at the table to do that, but we can’t cut our way out of the losses that we’ve had from Columbus.”

“What we want is to make sure we can look in the eyes of those kids in first and second grade and know that for the next ten years, when they’re handed their diplomas ten years from now, they’re going to have the same wonderful opportunities as the kids who are graduating this year,” Saxton said.

The Boardman School Board meets again on Monday at 6:30 p.m. and is expected to approve the levy on its second and final reading. It’ll then be on the ballot May 8.