Hill to climb

The Amanda-Clearcreek Local Schools has a huge hill to climb. Come Nov. 5, if voters don’t approve an Earned Income Tax Levy all sports, clubs and extra curricular activities for the following school year will be cut. The district also will close the K-2 building and merge into one building. In this photo, Amanda-Clearcreek head football coach Steve Daulton prepares his team Tuesday afternoon for the upcoming football season.

CIRCLEVILLE — Deep cuts are in store for Amanda-Clearcreek Local Schools should voters turn down a levy this November and they will affect practically every student in the district.

All sports, clubs and extracurricular activities will get cut and the district will close the K-2 building and move those students into the main school building.

Superintendent J.B. Dick, superintendent said the district needs to cut about $3 million from the budget if the levy doesn’t pass in November. The district is asking voters to approve a 2 percent earned income tax levy for 15 years that will generate about $3.2 million a year for the district.

“We’re cutting not just athletics and clubs, it also affects academics,” he said. “We’ll have larger classes and fewer electives if the levy doesn’t pass. I can’t think of a student that won’t be affected in some way. It’ll be different for every student.”

Dick, who took over as superintendent in 2017 after having the role from 2001 to 2008, said his sole focus as superintendent has been to pass a levy.

“This is very vital to the district,” he said. “I’ve done nothing but try to pass a levy since I got here. We’ve been forced to cut and we’ve taken a five-year levy and stretched it for four more years.”

Dick also said there have been incorrect reports that the staff at the K-2 building staff would be eliminated but that’s not true.

“They’ll be moved to the other building,” he said. “There are still students to teach.”

Dick said the district has done it’s best to make cuts to save money and have stretched a previous five year operating levy to last the district nine years.

Ahead of the 2018-2019 school year Jill Bradford, treasurer said the district made cuts to save about $201,000. Included among those efforts were $90,000 saved by employing LED lighting, cutting hours for some of the support positions, and making some changes to several contracts such as a contract for mowing services.

Ahead of this year, Bradford said they’ve made similar cuts and changes, including pulling a unit in from the Education Service Center and additional staffing reductions. Those measures will save nearly $230,000, she said.

“A lot of the staffing, as we had anticipated, would be through attrition, people that we knew would be leaving,” she said. “We [used money saving measures] even before we had the original levy. We did things like this to see how we could be better stewards of the taxpayers money.”

The previous levy, a 1 percent income tax levy was voted down by voters at a nearly 2-1 rate in May. The cuts, should the levy fail, will go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year.

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