CENTERBURG — On Monday, the Centerburg Board of Education passed a symbolic resolution opposing unfunded state and federal mandates.
Because revenues from the state and federal governments have decreased significantly, local taxpayers are already being forced to pay more to operate their schools, and unfunded state or federal mandated programs add further financial burdens.
Board member Lynn McCann said, “I’m just a critic of these things that come from the state, and other places, where they want you to do something, but they don’t give you any money to do it. For example, all-day every day kindergarten, which is in the works, will cost us well over $100,000. Some other proposals are doing body mass index measurements on all students, adding days to the school year and requiring 30 minutes of physical education for everybody every day. Those haven’t been required, yet. You can debate the merits of all those suggestions, but most of the schools in the state have their backs to the wall now.”
“I think it’s been an abuse by the government that’s gone on far too long,” said board member Leroy Bumpus. “For at least 10 years, the government, particularly the Ohio legislature, continues to pass mandates on public education and doesn’t provide the funding to implement it.”
“And then the local schools,” added McCann, “have to ask their constituents for the money.”
Treasurer Ellen Scott reported there has been no growth in state funds to Centerburg for four years and said the July school income tax collections are down about 4 percent from last July. She said the district is working to save money where it can, and has reduced salary expenditures by at least $120,000. That has been through administrative salary freezes, attrition and reduction in force measures. Scott said they are trying to make cuts in areas that will not adversely affect the students’ educational opportunities.