Howland Local School District outlining cuts, plans and need for - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Howland Local School District outlining cuts, plans and need for funds

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HOWLAND, Ohio -

The Howland Board of Education has asked voters to approve a tax increase in May to secure additional operating funds to prevent the district from falling into deficit spending.

If the district fell into deficit spending, it would place Howland Schools on the state's fiscal caution list. 

Officials say at the start of next fiscal year Howland Local Schools are set up to lose $1.9 million annually. Officials say they believe this is because of the elimination of the tangible personal property tax.

The District's Treasurer, Rhonda Amorganos, says the tangible personal property tax was once paid by business owners for their inventory but was repealed as a way to give local businesses a tax break.

Amorganos says the state provided reimbursements to the school district, but in 2012 it phased out. 

"The district has had to endure losses of $2.9 million since 2012 when the state began to phase out reimbursements to the district for tangible personal property taxes no longer being collected," said Amorganos.  

School officials say it has been 15 years since the Howland Local School District has received new operating funds.

Howland Local Schools Superintendent Kevin Spicher said, "It was apparent from past, unsuccessful requests for additional funds that we needed to change our course and work harder to do things with the funds available to us. Over the past several years, we have been successful in doing that. However, in order to maintain the educational standards the Howland community has grown accustomed to, it is absolutely necessary to seek additional operating funds at this time."

The levy would raise $3.2 million per year and allow the district to avoid going into deficit spending.  

Officials say the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $206 per year, which is a little over $17 per month or 53 cents per day.  

School officials say they have been proactively anticipating these losses and are seeking resources to better manage and maintain student curricular and activity programs.

Budget cuts have been made in the school district. 

"It's simple, cuts made to balance state budgets have placed the burden on local taxpayers to maintain operating levels for students in our schools and others like us," said superintendent Spicher. 

Cuts have included high school and middle school bus route consolidation, about $120,000 annually, along with $235,830 since 2014 in district-wide building and supply cuts, support staff cuts of $364,000 and more recent cuts of $367,000.

The district saw an additional $326,000 in savings by implementing all-day kindergarten without hiring four additional teachers.

"We are being transparent about our fiscal condition because we want our community to know that the revenue cuts from the state are real and the district's fiscal needs are real," said Spicher. 

Howland Schools have planned cuts for fiscal year 2019.  

The Trumbull County Educational Service Center says Howland Schools currently operate with the third lowest tax millage paid by its taxpayers out of the 20 districts in the county.

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