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Coventry Schools levy renewal ‘crucial’ for district

4/20/2017 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

COVENTRY — Coventry Local Schools is attempting to secure an important component needed for a more comfortable financial future.

The school district has placed on the May 2 Primary/Special Election ballot Issue No. 16, a renewal of a $2.88 million emergency levy.

District officials are hopeful voters will understand the need for the passage of the levy.

“We are trying to show the district’s finances have really turned around,” said Superintendent Russell Chaboudy. “This [the ballot issue] is a major piece of the puzzle though.”

In December 2015, the district was placed in fiscal emergency and began working with a state control board to address a $4.8 million deficit and create a financial recovery plan to bring expenditures in line with revenues into the future.

The district then received $4.8 million in funding assistance from the state, which must be paid back within two years.

District Treasurer Matt Muccio has since projected a positive financial forecast for the next five years, assuming voters approve the tax levy renewal.

“The long-range financial forecast is very promising, and the renewal levy will provide a great assist in getting the district out of fiscal emergency,” Chaboudy said.

Passage of the renewal levy would continue to provide for the district’s needs.

Chaboudy said money generated through the levy would continue to be used to fund the daily operations of the district. This does not include building maintenance, he added.

Muccio said the renewal levy would be for five years, commencing in 2018. He said the levy, first approved in 2003, would continue to provide the district with a fixed amount of money, about $2.88 million a year, during the life of the levy. The levy was last renewed in 2012.

“Passage of the levy is crucial for the district’s financial stability,” Muccio said.

Muccio said the levy would cost the owner of a home appraised at $100,000 about $300 a year.

“We are working hard to keep new money issues off the ballot and depending on the governor’s [John Kasich] budget, we could end up not asking for new money for another five years,” Chaboudy said.

Approval of the levy would provide the district with the tool to get out of fiscal emergency, he said.

To be released from fiscal emergency, the district must produce a five-year forecast through 2020 without deficits, Muccio has said. The treasurer expects the district to end fiscal year 2017 with about a $1 million balance.

“The students of Coventry are getting a good education. We are not raising new dollars. This levy would allow us to continue to have sound academic programs,” Chaboudy explained.

Chaboudy and Muccio encourage those with questions regarding the ballot issue to contact them at rchaboudy@coventryschools.org or mmuccio@coventryschools.org.

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