Greenon Local Schools held a public forum on Thursday, March 6 in Indian Valley’s gym.
Diana Pry, the head of the levy commission, gave a presentation to those in attendance about why the levy is necessary and what could happen if it does not pass in May.
Possible consequences Pry discussed include significantly increasing the cost of pay to play for the athletic programs and cutting the STEM program at all schools other than Greenon. She also said they will cut down to one FFA teacher, FCCLA teacher and one music teacher for all three schools.
A resident mentioned he was concerned that the levy is “just a band-aid for an otherwise bad situation” and that the same issue would arise in the future.
Pry said that regardless of the levy passing or not, the closing of Hustead is a “done deal.” However, she said that if the levy is passed, the cuts she mentioned could be avoided.
Pry said that without consolidation the district would be in fiscal emergency as early as the 2015-16 school year. Given the other cuts made by the district along with consolidation, Pry said the district has one extra year before declaring fiscal emergency.
She said the district has not yet decided what to do with the Hustead building. Board president Dennis Henry said the difficulty with Hustead lies in trying to maximize the income from the building. There are concerns about asbestos and the condition of the HVAC system. He said at least part of the building will be used for storage during the transition of the other buildings.
Shutting down Hustead will save the district approximately $610 thousand dollars in salaries and operating costs. If the levy does not pass, an addition $328 thousand dollars in additional cuts must be made to keep the district out of fiscal emergency.
“The operating costs of Hustead for heat, etc. is the most expensive of all the buildings,” McKee said. “Our enrollment is declining so much that it doesn’t make sense to keep four schools open at this time.”
One resident asked if there will be changes to the bussing situation and if bussing will still be provided. Pry said the board has reviewed the bussing situation and that there was no benefit to making students within one mile of their school walk, so bussing will still be available to all students next year.
Another resident asked if trailers will be brought in to accommodate some of the students with the consolidation. She also commented that the district will likely come alive again because Enon is an aging population, which will result in homes being sold to younger people with families.
Bennett said they are considering bringing in trailers, though no decisions have yet been made officially. The new trailers offer enhanced learning environments and climate control. As for the district repopulating, board president Dennis Henry said he doesn’t see that happening in the near future and that we need to focus on what can be done to get the current district in the black.