Tiffin City Board of Education is to ask voters to approve a continuing 4.9-mill levy again and is considering cutting some busing.
Failure of the levy this month means the earliest the district could start collecting new revenue is Jan. 1, 2013, and the loss of a year's worth of collections puts the district an additional $700,000 behind.
According to official election totals, the levy failed by 330 votes, with 3,843 voting for it and 3,513 rejecting it.
"Over the past two weeks, some of the comments made to me have
been appalling. I know everyone likes to be an armchair quarterback. It is always easy to second guess our decisions when dealing with past grudges, rumors, gossip and suppositions," said board member Dawn Iannantuono, reading from a statement. "Our decisions are based on facts, knowing the quality of people we are working with and understanding the day to day operations of this large district. We base decisions on what is best for all of our kids period."
During a meeting Tuesday evening, board members discussed whether to seek a levy with a higher millage on the March 6 ballot. The vote to ask for a 4.9-mill levy passed 4-1, with Iannantuono voting against it.
Iannantuono said she voted "no" because the district needs to pass a 5.9-mill levy. In Tiffin City Schools, 2 mills equals about $700,000, so a 6.9-mill request would have taken care of the deficit.
The levy to appear on the March ballot would generate about $1.7 million annually, Treasurer Sharon Perry said.
"We need to look forward and realize there is a need (for additional funding to keep the district going)," President Chris Widman said.
Board members discussed ways to cut $700,000 from the budget, but no action was taken.
Two ideas discussed were extending a wage freeze and reducing transportation to state minimum levels, which means the district only would transport students in grades K-8 who live outside of a 2-mile radius of their school. Superintendent Donald Coletta said it potentially would save $120,000 a year.
The move would affect open enrollment students and pick-ups at baby sitters' homes, but Tom Anway, director of operations, said it would not affect transportation to field trips and extracurricular and sporting events because they are not paid for out of the general fund.
In other business, the board heard transition team reports. Anway said the facility transition task force discussed starting and ending times at schools.
Later in the meeting, the board approved start times for next school year.
There is to be no change to Columbian High School, which starts at 7:45 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m. There is to be no change to the class schedule at Tiffin Middle School, which starts at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m., but the building is to open at 7:35 a.m. All elementary buildings are to open at 7:45 a.m., with classes from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
In other business, the board:
Appointed Iannantuono to the Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers Board of Education.
Heard committee reports.
Heard about the high school curriculum guide.
Heard about a field trip by Lincoln Elementary School students. If approved in December, fifth-graders would travel to Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. The trip would be funded through fundraisers.
Heard kindergarten registration is under way.
Heard first reading of a recommended new board policy, revised board policies and revised board exhibit.
Approved the treasurer's report.
Accepted the resignations of Karolyn Dixon, support staff, and Ben Williams, seventh- and eighth-grade wrestling coach.
Approved employment and stipends.
Approved a statement of purpose budget report.
Accepted donations and a grant.
Approved renaming the communications committee as the marketing committee. The board approved making its focus marketing the district to the community, county and region and setting its meetings the first Thursday of every month, except July.
Approved adding Vermilion to Northern Ohio League.
Approved the purchase of used school buses from East Clinton Local School District and Continental Local School District.
Entered executive session to discuss employment of public employees and did not plan to take action after the session.
Approved employment of a non-licensed individual with a pupil-activity contract.
The next meeting is 7 p.m. Dec. 20 in Tiffin Middle School's cafetorium.