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Woodridge awaits specifics on new state school funding

7/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Nicholas Mayer was hired as athletic and activities director for the Woodridge Local School District.
Photo courtesy of Woodridge Local Schools
The Woodridge Local School District ended the fiscal year June 30 in the black and is awaiting word on how much state funding to expect for the next two years following the passage of Ohio House Bill (HB) 59, the new biennial budget.

Woodridge Treasurer Deanna Levenger presented a year-end report at the Woodridge Board of Education’s July 16 meeting. Despite expenditures exceeding revenues by $540,000, the district ended up $5.5 million in the black thanks to a cash balance at the beginning of last school year.

According to Levenger, nearly 70 percent of the district’s revenue comes from local property taxes. While district officials don’t yet have much specific information about how the new state budget will affect public school districts, one thing they do know is Gov. John Kasich’s two-year budget is eliminating Ohio’s real estate property tax rollback on new tax levies, she said.

The rollback is a total of a 12.5 percent reduction in property tax the state granted to taxpayers in the 1970s. So voters have actually been paying only 87.5 percent of their real estate tax bills, Levenger said.

But HB 59 does away with the tax break for new levies on the ballot as of this November. Levenger said she believes this will make it harder to pass school levies.

School officials have heard, however, that Woodridge could receive an additional $60,000 from the state this year and $110,000 next year, she said. The new funding formula will take Woodridge off the guarantee formula, under which the district has been getting the same amount from the state each year in spite of its dramatically increased enrollment in recent years, Levenger said.

Along with the increased enrollment stretching their funds, the district also has been hit hard by open enrollment in other districts and community (charter) schools, she said. Levenger said those two, along with scholarships the state offers students to go to another school district — at the home district’s expense — cost Woodridge about $600,000 last year.

In other business, Superintendent Walter Davis paid tribute to Nicholas Shaffer, a Woodridge Intermediate School student, who died after he was swept away July 11 by torrential rains in Mud Brook in the Merriman Valley.

Davis said Nicholas’ family has designated the Woodridge special needs program for memorial donations.

The school board approved a revision to its scholastic athletics policy. Davis said he recommended the grade-point average (GPA) to be eligible to participate in sports, which is now a 1.0, be gradually raised over the next three years.

It will increase by 0.5 each of the next two years, so it reaches a 2.0 GPA. Principal Joel Morgan said there is study help at the high school for those students who need it.

At a special meeting July 9, the board approved hiring Raymond (R.J.) Braunscheidel as Woodridge High School assistant principal. He comes to Woodridge from Highland Local Schools, where he was an assistant principal for nine years; before that, he taught in the Akron Public Schools.

Braunscheidel has a master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Akron and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Toledo. He was given a three-year contract effective Aug. 1.

Also hired was Nicholas Mayer as athletic and activities director for the district. Mayer was previously athletic director at Stanton Middle School in Kent and has a master’s degree in sports and recreation management from Kent State University.

According to Davis, Mayer will be responsible for all athletic, extracurricular and co-curricular programing for the district. He was given a one-year contract, effective Aug. 1.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Administration Building, 4411 Quick Road.

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