Robert D Hill Lady Devils blank West Union 7-0 in SHAC soccer finale Vikings invade and conquer the Greyhounds Outpouring of community support for local business woman with cancer Manchester mourns teen killed in single-car crash Kylie S Lucas Sharon R Grooms Steven L Wootten Forest J McDaniel Ralph O Grooms Adams County teenager dies in auto accident Charles N Vance Wesley M Baldwin James Kennedy Tom A Mihalovich Brand hat trick leads North Adams past West Union 5-2 in SHAC soccer action Senior Profile: Bryant Lung Lady Hounds pull off thrilling Senior Night win Volleyball milestones continue to pile up at North Adams Banner season for Lady Indians soccer SHAC holds Junior High Volleyball Tournament Tournament match ups set for volleyball and soccer Senior Profile: Morgan Edmisten Hounds dominate, improve to 3-4 Is this not the best time of the year? Volley For The Cure is another big success Getting everything we ask for Oh, that dreaded leaf project Manchester: Adams County’s oldest community looks to the future with hope Congressman visits Manchester’s newest business Six candidates vie for MLSD School Board Highway 41 road work stalls MFD holds annual Safety Day for kids, families Lenora Mckee Virgie Cole Helen J Damron Karen S Lockhart Donna M Pelfrey Russell D Pollitt, Sr Karen S Lockhart Harris named Director of Shelter for the Homeless Local candidates abundant on November ballot Senior Profile: McKinlee Grooms Lady Dragons finish third in district golf tourney Lady Devils challenged, but survive to extend SHAC streak to 60 Rally falls short, Lady Hounds fall in five sets to Fairfield Senior Profile: Jessica Newman Lady Indians get shutout win over West Union, 2-0 Erwins host annual Herb Fair Bentonville: A community at the crossroads of Adams County history Tranquility, Wilson Homestead host annual Heritage Days Why we get back up Your local newspaper, the real deal Welcome to the morning klatch Oleda F Saunders Frank A Golden Shirley A Tully Hubert Knauff John T Shupert Celebrate the sports pages Gould, Woolard, defense lead Hounds to second win George E Lucas Betty A Johnson Hayes sentenced Sue Day Devils headed back to state golf tourney Earl R Fields Alberta L Steward Gregory Terry Linda Taylor Levies slated for November ballot Manchester residents forming neighborhood watch group West Union teachers receive prestigious award Crum arraigned in Brown County Common Pleas Court Seaman: A small town with a big heart and a family spirit Seaman Fall Festival again draws large crowds NAES participates in weekend food program AES Ohio Generation assumes control of DP&L assets West Union, Peebles take home county XC crowns Lady Devils win a soccer buzzer-beater Senior Profile: Brooklyn Wylie Lady Dragons move to districts Green Devils win sectional golf title West Union hosting fourth annual Alumni Volleyball Game Gray breaks Lady Indians’ single season goals record Senior Profile: Chase Cummings Lady Dragons cruise to SHAC title Hupp ties school record with five goals in Lady Devils’ win over Southeastern For 14th time in 15 years, Dragons claim SHAC Boys Golf Championship Getting life in order See those signals of the season Jury returns verdict in former Manchester police officer’s trial Larry Peters Gary L Hughes Sr Deanna L Parker Stephen R Fetters Bonnie Hawkins Clifton J DeMint Steven L Kimberlin When you just know

MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings

Superintendent Charles Shreve, third from left, and the Manchester Local School Board are facing some tough financial decisions in the upcoming months, due mainly to the ongoing situation at the local power plants.

District Treasurer warns schools could be ‘dead in the water’ –

Story and photo by Patricia Beech –

The closing of Adams County’s coal-fired power plants, and subsequent loss of millions in tax revenues will have far reaching effects across the local region, but the immediate repercussions will likely be most deeply felt by the Manchester Local School District (MLSD).
At a meeting of the MLSD Board of Education on Wednesday, Feb 8, Treasurer Karen Ballengee presented the district’s amended Five-Year Budget underscoring the gravity of the school’s financial future after the power-plants are shuttered and tax revenue is lost.
“The estimated figures in this budget will show the Ohio Department of Education and state legislators what our school might look like without their help,” said Ballengee. “They need to understand what our future will be like if they don’t make some revisions in the School Foundation Program to correct some of the drastic changes that are occurring in our district.”
According to Ballengee, the district’s budget will plunge from an average of $12 million to $5 million annually – a 55% drop over four years after the plants are shut down. In subsequent years the district will be operating in the red.
“We can’t operate the schools on $5 million a year,”said Ballengee. “We’re dead in the water if the state doesn’t take action.”
In an effort to bring attention to the school’s plight, Superintendent Shreve, Ballengee, and School Board President Rick Foster met recently with 2nd District Representative Terry Johnson and State Senator Joe Uecker “to plea for a legislative solution that will bring money into our schools,” said Shreve. “We want to keep our issue in front of them without hurting our chances.”
Thus far, Shreve said, state officials have given no indication what action will be taken on behalf of the district. “They have promised us nothing,” he said. “They understand our problem and they will work to fix it, but how they’re going to fix it – or how they’re going to make us whole – we have no idea.”
In fact, the state’s funding options are limited by the district’s unique situation of “failing through no fault of their own”.
“It (our district) wasn’t negotiated, leveraged, or mortgaged away,” said Foster. “We were solid financially.”
Board member Kathleen Tracy agreed, saying the district’s money “had been judiciously managed” by Ballengee. She called the Treasurer’s efforts to amend the five-year budget “a profile in courage”.
Ballengee, who was named Treasurer of the Year by the Ohio Association of School Business Officials in 2012, has been instrumental in establishing the district’s stellar financial reputation.
Under her leadership, the district built and paid for an elementary school and the MEAC (Manchester Education Activity Center) without any cost to taxpayers.
“Our money was invested wisely in bricks and mortar – things the state cannot take from us,” said Tracy.
The district’s sound financial practices all but rules out the possibility of a state takeover – which requires a three-step fiscal process prompted by either mismanagement or maleficence on the part of the board of education.
“That situation doesn’t apply to us – we don’t fit the mold,” said Shreve. “We don’t meet the criteria for a state takeover.
In the interim, Ballengee and the board have stopped all spending for the current year, and are planning sharp cuts in personnel to make up for the $2.5 million the district lost following the devaluation of generating equipment at the plants.
The Assessed Valuation of the generating equipment dropped from $321 million to $263 million after
Duke Energy sold their interest in the plants to Dynegy.
Ballengee worries that both AEP and DP&L will likely seek the same tax relief as Dynegy – a move that will further devalue the plant’s equipment and carve even deeper into the district’s budget.
“We’re trying to get the state to use these new valuations and make us an ‘exception to the general rule’ which requires a three-four year waiting period on valuations,” said Ballengee. “We’re hoping to get them to route money into our school district more quickly because this situation was not caused by us, and is beyond our control.”
In addition to regular operating expenses, the district is bound by union contract to provide a 2.5% raise to employees this year as well as another 2% raise in 2019.
According to Ballengee, the district will cut $475,000 in personnel costs from its 2018 budget, and an additional $180,000 in salary cuts in 2019 to cover the cost of the raises.
“We’re trying to show everyone that we’re willing to do everything we can to help ourselves, as much as possible, by making these cuts,” Ballengee said, but added that any additional cuts in personnel would be impossible unless there were a mass exodus of students from the school causing enrollment to drop significantly.
While the district would prefer to maintain their autonomy by convincing the state to raise the funding caps in the School Foundation Program, the amount of state funds that a district receives is based on a formula that takes into account the student enrollment and the property wealth of the district – two factors that may well work against the Manchester district.

2 comments:

  1. 1. Our two legislatures for our our area have screwed the whole county.They voted for the tangiable property tax being done away with 6 years ago on equipment such as these two proper plants.
    2. I see no way the state would rescue such a small school district.The other counties in state of ohio are in a similar situation and I don’t see the state helping this school district at all since the governor claims our state is on the verge of a recession because our legislature has given the wealthy people and companies to many tax breaks.
    3.MLSD needs to renegotiate the contract with all the employees. The ones who have tenure have to stay, but other employees need to either take a pay cut or find a job somewhere else.

    I am deeply sorry for MLSD situation. But you made your bed when you decided to leave OVLSD to be on your own. Now you’re going to have to lie in it.

  2. Bill,

    I will agree with you on points one and two, but have to disagree on point three. Our bed was made long before the decision to leave AC/OVSD. It was made when Manchester was understandably forced into consolidation by the rest of the county to reap a share of our power plant tax dollar windfall. We were instrumental in the construction of the four new high schools and even though we finally escaped, are still paying our share for those new facilities. I am not sure what our situation would be now had consolidation not been forced upon us, but I do know that we forced from our bed and did not create this situation. I am sure the county schools would now like to repay our benevolence by inviting us to rejoin the Valley.

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