Grand Marshals selected for West Union Fourth of July Parade Adams County, Maysville Vet team up to save injured dog Michael S Knauff Victor P Price Success builds from the bottom up Finalists named for 2017 Fair Queen Contest William Glenn DeWine, Reader Call For Tips in Rhoden Murder Investigation MHS principal to take superintendent post Peebles Skate Park now a reality 2017-18 Fur and Feather Ambassadors named Caley Grooms is Cattlemen’s Beef Ambassador Dr. Mueller leaving Health Department’s free clinic Hourglass Quilt Barn returning to Adams County Lung, Thornburg are First Team All-District selections North Adams hosts annual Boys Basketball Camps Walk-off winner Wanda Hill George D Johnson Life can be a juggling act My favorite thing to do on the farm Wolves in Adams County! Ronald L Wedmore Three lessons from Dad Donald D Morgan Wenstrup uninjured in Virginia shooting Portman staff to hold grant funding workshop Raymond E Applegate Keeping the Peebles tradition alive Back on the hardwood, local hoops squads compete in Monday Night League Seven county athletes recognized as All-SHAC Baseball honorees Stepping to the podium Lady Hounds host Youth Volleyball Camp Senior Profile: Bryan Young Junior Deputy Boot Camps kick off in Manchester Hayes pleads “not guilty” to 109 counts Six-year-old girl finds long-lost class ring Jefferson Alumni awards annual scholarships Paul Tate Jr Marcus I Cox Jewell Gill James M Hill Jr Jeffrey S Jones Samuel A Disher Jack Sterling BREAKING NEWS: Parents face charges after son overdoses on opiate License Hikes and Tall Turkey Tales Danger under every rock Reigning Miss Ohio USA will judge 2017 Adams County Fair Queen Pageant Gordley’s hoops career will continue at Mount St. Joseph Russell C Newman Kenneth C Thurman George Uebel Summer Reading Program underway Honor Flight carries local veteran to DC When rescuers become victims Passing the torch, West Union hosts week-long basketball camp for future Dragons SENIOR PROFILE: Sara Knechtly Terry L Powell Willie Shreffler James C Fitzpatrick Senior Profile: Austin Parks Six countians named to All-SHAC Softball squad Lady Indians get summer camp season underway Memorial Day services pay tribute to local veterans WUHS Steel Band will perform at Bogart’s SSCC announces Honors Lists for spring semester Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for final nine weeks West Union Elementary announces Honor Roll for fourth nine weeks Back to State! Mom calls daughter “living proof” seat belts save lives Rent-2-Own donation means new soccer scoreboard at WUHS NAHS student selected for Engineering Summer Camp Southern Hills Athletic Conferences honors Spring Sports athletes Senior Profile: Kailyn Boyd Madison Welch receives Riffle Scholarship Junior Achievement Volunteers visit county’s seventh graders Marcella J Abbott James Ratliff Gladys Davitz Harry G Shupert Memories on Memorial Day A soldier’s story, a family’s grief Thank You for your sacrifice Seaman community honors local veterans with special tribute Former PES teacher dies in tragic accident All County Senior Citizens Day celebrated Parks signs with SSCC Soccer Senior Profile: Lexie Bunn Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley North Adams hosts Youth Volleyball Camp Time to get “Stroke Savvy”

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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