CHAMPION - While the Board of Education will wait until January to officially act on placing a school levy on the ballot in 2013, a plan to slash finances by $602,000 was mapped out this week.
Board President Maureen Seafert said a cost-containment plan was mapped out Wednesday to show where cuts will be made for the 2013-14 school year if a school levy is defeated next year.
On the Nov. 6 ballot, a 4.95-mill, 10-year additional operating levy, which would have raised $845,485 annually for the district, was defeated by the voters. If a levy is not passed next year, the district faces a $4 million projected deficit in four years, she said.
Superintendent Pamela Hood said the district also is facing an $850,000 loss in state funding. In recent years, the district has faced $1 million annually in cuts from the state, she said.
The district's levy steering committee has recommended to the board and the school administration that it be placed on the May primary ballot. Seafert said Treasurer Brian Gillespie will recommend to the board what millage for a levy is needed. Action by the board will then be taken, she said.
Seafert said there are concerns of major losses for the educational programs and services provided to the students.
''What we are doing is trying to protect the educational system and provide the best education to our students,'' she said. ''We want the public to understand the seriousness of this situation.''
Babette Sisler, levy chairwoman, and other residents attended the November board meeting stressing the need to get the levy back on the ballot next spring to maintain current student services.
Board members and residents indicated there will be fewer issues locally on the May primary ballot. The November ballot had the school levy, along with a Champion Township fire levy, state candidates and issues in addition to the national presidential campaign.
Seafert said if the levy passes in May, the district will not collect that money until 2014. She said the district is hoping that taxes collected from 2012 will come to the district in January will help offset some of the money that is needed.
''If the levy doesn't pass in May, we will have no choice but to make cuts,'' Seafert said.
The last time voters passed a new levy was in May 1994, when they approved a 15-mill emergency operating levy.