Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

Bethel school district discusses levy

By Megan Alley

On Nov. 8, voters in the village of Bethel will be asked to decide on a 6.6 mill five-year emergency school levy.
The Bethel-Tate Board of Education unanimously approved putting the levy on the November presidential election ballot during the board’s meeting on April 19.
The levy is expected to generate about $1.1 million per year.
“We do feel like the $1.1 million will keep us at status quo,” Treasurer Karen Royer said. “Obviously we don’t want to cut positions.”
The levy will cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $20 per month.
“If the levy is approved, we will avoid deficit spending for about five years, to the year 2020,” Royer explained. “We’ll have just enough money to keep us from being in the red, but we’ll still have to watch our pennies because there are costs that come up that you can’t anticipate.”
One area of continued cost increases is special education.
“People don’t realize the cost of special education,” Royer said. “For instance, we can suddenly have an unexpected influx of students who require special education services, and we can try to appropriate enough money in those areas, but sometimes it’s not enough.”
In addition to unanticipated costs, the school district’s budget could be hit hard by anticipated cuts in state funding.
Currently, state funding, with rollback, makes up about 69 percent, or $10.2 million, of the school district’s funding. Local funding, with public utility contributions, makes up about 20.4 percent, or $3 million.
“We keep hearing the state guarantee could go away,” Royer said. “If we continue to lose enrollment and state funding is no longer guaranteed, we could lose money.”
She added, “We’re hoping the guarantee stays in place; we’re continuing to monitor the situation.”
Royer further explained that the levy amount was determined with the assumption that state funding will be maintained at its current level.
“We know we are going to have to increase our local funding to stay solvent,” Royer said.
During the meeting, Royer presented the results and recommendations of a performance audit, which was conducted by the state auditor’s office. The report calls for a reduction in staffing to manage the school district’s budget deficit.
Charles Napier, board member, said the audit provided an unbiased look at the school district’s situation and options moving forward.
“We’ve been turning over rocks to find money for what seems like a long while now,” Napier said. “I think we’ve done a good job of cutting the low hanging fruit, if you will, as far as getting down to where we’re at now.”
He added, “I think it’s good to be able to go out to the public, when we’re seeking a levy, to say we’re not telling you that we need money, the state is telling us that we need money.”
Bethel has not passed a school operation levy since 1989, according to Royer. Since then, the school district opened an additional building, Bethel-Tate High School.
“We’re operating four buildings with money from the past and a budget meant for three buildings,” Royer explained.
Looking ahead, supporters of the levy will begin forming a campaign team, a strategy and a timeline, according to Melissa Kircher, superintendent.
“I think we are going to be challenged, but I am optimistic the levy will pass,” Royer said.
If the levy doesn’t pass, the school district will have to make additional cuts.
“We haven’t determined which areas we’ll cut; we’re hoping we don’t have to go there,” Royer said.
Royer conceded that there would likely be staffing cuts.
“Your staff is your best commodity and also your most expensive.”
Parent Brandy Pryor is concerned that if the levy fails, the school district might be forced to reduce instruction time, a measure Royer described as a “last resort.”
“It’s a key point that would probably need to be made to the public, because you’re either factoring in the cost of the levy or $150 to $200 a week [extra] in childcare, which is what it what it could be if this levy couldn’t pass,” Pryor said.
“It’s a sales point and something that needs to be considered, so if we have a number of families, or children it would affect, that is something that needs to be addressed and stated to the general public,” she added.
Kircher agreed, “You’re absolutely right, if the school day changes, it does change childcare and that would need to be communicated to the public.”

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