COVENTRY TWP. Coventry Local Schools continue to struggle to find a path to financial stability.
During the Nov. 27 meeting, the Board of Education approved the five-year-forecast, which shows the reduction of 13 teachers over the five years. In addition, the forecast shows a reduction in open enrolled students.
District Treasurer Sherry Tyson presented the forecast to the board, which she said can change and is only the best assumptions the district can make.
The reduction plan shows the number of open enrolled students this school year is decreasing by 44 students compared to last year. For the 2020-21 school year, 40 open enrolled students are reduced, zero for 2021-22, 41 for 2022-23 and 27 for 2023-24.
Superintendent Lisa Blough said the enrollment plan is subject to change as the district doesn’t know how many students will be coming in.
The plan also shows a reduction of five teachers in 2021, zero in 2022, five in 2023 and three in 2024.
Board President Chris Davis said had voters approved the income tax issue the district wouldn’t have had to make the teacher reductions.
The board also approved to begin the process of placing a property tax renewal from 2010 on the ballot. The property tax was renewed once in 2015. The renewal for five-year is the property tax the district had planned to let expire if voters had approved a 1 percent income tax Nov. 5. Voters soundly defeated the issue 64 percent to 36 percent.
Davis said the issue was defeated by a substantial margin. He said had it passed the district would have had a positive five-year-forecast.
This is only the first of a two-step process to place an issue on the ballot. The Financial Planning and Supervision Commission will also have to approve it.
Davis said the district needs to come together and approve the renewal issue. He said costs have increased drastically since the levy was first passed in 2010 and even passing the renewal still puts the district “behind the eight ball.”
In other business Nov. 27, the board:
• Approved to do a request for proposals and create a committee to evaluate information in regards to insurance. The district already had requested proposals, but the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission said to scrap what the district had and start over. The committee will consist of the superintendent, treasurer, two board members, two fiscal commission members and representatives from both unions. The district hopes to find someone to advise them on different insurance plans rather than someone to sell them insurance.
• Approved a contract with E J Thomas for graduation May 28, 2020, in the amount of $5,475.
• Approved a modified testing schedule for Feb. 25 when the 11th graders will take the ACT and 10th graders will take the practice ACT. The test will be given from 7:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and then students will be able to have lunch and leave if they have transportation.
• Honored Jennifer Minor with a certificate of appreciation for her putting together track or treat for the past eight years. Minor said this year they had more than 600 children attend with more than 42 stations for them to stop. She said her students are open enrolled and she supports the district 110 percent. She encouraged the district to be united and not separated.
• Heard from Blough that the district is trying to improve communication. She said there is a new district newsletter, which goes out once per month and is posted on the district’s website. The newsletter will highlight district news and accomplishments of students.
The next Coventry Local Schools board meeting will be 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at Coventry Elementary School.