Beulah Boldman David Kierzek Theresa C Davis Edward F Storer Ralph Rader DP&L to stick with planned closings Preventing tax season identity theft 4-H awards 11 local scholarships Peebles Elementary holds Spirit Week Humane Society to hold Radio Auction Local business partners find historical treasure in old bank building DP&L employees meet with union leadership GE-Peebles Test Operation joins the campaign about Distracted Driving North Adams Elementary recognizes February Students of the Month Senior Profile: Sydney Michael Stars will shine for the 34th annual C-103 All-Star Game NAHS Track/XC host Shamrock Shuffle 5K Associated Press names All-Southeast District Teams Senior Profile: Hannah Howard Nice to finally be a small part of March Madness The tractor has always been special Jimmy Nelson Kathryn Boldman James E Downs Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe

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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