Cuts likely favored by Niles voters

Voters in Niles have shown little faith in their school leaders. Not only have they defeated recent repeated attempts at large additional levies and at least one try at a new substitution levy, now voters this month defeated a sorely needed renewal levy.

As we see it, voters are sending a clear message.

Now that the state fiscal commission is involved in helping to right this listing ship, the commission and school leaders need to put their heads together to find a way to respond to the wishes of taxed-out voters.

The state fiscal commission that was appointed to oversee finances of the Niles Board of Education is rightfully moving slowly and deliberately in the guidance it offers the school district, in state-imposed fiscal emergency.

We were pleased to see the local board of education’s recent approval of a proposed fiscal recovery plan in response to a directive from the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission that ordered the district to find a way to cut some $253,000 as part of a five-year plan.

Those savings are made possible in large part due to cooperation from Ohio Association of Public School Employees, representing classified staff, and Niles Education Association, representing teachers, and a reduction in force through attrition.

Under the plan, 12 employees — four classified and eight certified — will retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year; four of the certified employees will not be replaced.

The eight members of the teachers’ union who are retiring will receive a $7,000 retirement incentive approved by the board earlier this school year. A minimum of five teachers had to retire to put the incentive into effect.

That’s a good start.

Still, those working to pull the district out of the state-imposed fiscal emergency must continue to pursue places to cut before relying on voters who have stressed their feelings by saying “no” several times.

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