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State Budget Woes Threaten Archbold School Funding




If Ohio doesn’t receive aid from the federal government, all state-funded agencies, including schools, could take a 25% cut.

That could mean cutting another $1.5 million off the Archbold Area School District operations budget.

David Deskins, district superintendent, detailed the scenario for members of the Archbold Area School Board during the Monday night, Dec. 15, meeting.

Governor

Ted Strickland, Ohio governor, said last week Ohio faces a budget deficit of $640 million for the current fiscal year, 2008-09.

For the 2010-11 biennial budget, Ohio could face a projected $7.3 billion shortfall.

Strickland has asked the federal government for a $5 billion federal block grant. If they do not provide the money, it could mean a 25% cut in budgets.

Deskins said district superintendents across Ohio have been told to expect a 10% cut in state funds: 5% yet this year, and another 5% in February or March.

For school districts, a 25% cut could mean $840 less in perpupil funding for the 2009-10 school year. Information from the Ohio Department of Education website states that for fiscal year 2007 (July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007), the state provided about $3,300 per pupil to the Archbold school district.

For the 2010-11 school year, the figure could increase to an $870 reduction per pupil.

Deskins said such cuts will put many school districts into deficit spending, and the state may not have enough to rush to the aid of districts statewide.

School officials have cut $1.5 million out of the district budget over three years; Deskins said there are not a lot of places left to cut.

“It will be a painful experience,” he said.

Cuts

In the meantime, Deskins said the district budget-cutting efforts continue.

He said district officials have been meeting with representatives of the Fulton County Educational Service Center.

The district purchases some services from the ESC. Deskins said school district officials are looking for places where the expenses can be reduced.

Deskins also said the district’s wind energy study committee has continued its study into purchasing primary electric power for the school district.

Under the proposal, the district would buy electricity from Toledo Edison at the muchhigher distribution system voltage level.

The district would then be responsible for taking power directly from a high-voltage distribution line, reducing it to a useable level, then distributing it between the Archbold elementary and high school buildings.

Based on current information from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Deskins said the school could buy power for 4¢ to 10¢ per kilowatt hour.

The school would have to purchase its own transformer and distribution equipment, but Deskins said the cost of the equipment could be paid back in two years or less. After that, the district could save an additional $40,000 to $43,000 per year.

Wind

Data received from the wind test tower, located west of the Archbold High School on the new Archbold Evangelical Church property, has been encouraging.

So far, the Archbold tower, erected on June 24, has been outperforming a tower located in Cuyahoga County.

“The early data is very promising,” Deskins said.- David Pugh


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