The voters of Clark County sent a resounding message to the candidates for the 79th District State House seat currently held by Ross McGregor on the Republican primary. Kyle Koehler won handily over newcomer Argeri Lagos. Despite endorsements by many leaders in the local and State Republican Party for Lagos, Koehler received 6,180 votes compared to 4,144 cast for Lagos and 1,178 for the third candidate Rick Chimento.
In a written statement, Koehler thanked voters and volunteers for their support. “This was truly a grassroots effort that was completely volunteer-driven. No one was paid for their efforts. That is humbling, and I cannot say thank you enough” said Koehler. The Lagos campaign was contacted for comment, but had not replied by late Friday afternoon.
Voters in the area were supportive of renewal monies for local school districts; however they were not overwhelmingly in favor of new monies. Tecumseh Local Schools were able to pass two funding renewals on the May 6 ballot. Clark-Shawnee voters passed a new 6.95 mill levy that will provide an additional $2,257,998 to their budget lines. The levy was passed by 92 votes.
As for Greenon Local Schools, voters turned away a request for a 4.96 mil levy which would have generated $1,265,000 for the district. Of the 3,461 votes cast, the district fell 59 short of approval for new funding.
In a written statement released by the district on May 6, Superintendent Daniel Bennett stated “we are very disappointed in tonight’s outcome”. Bennett went on to state “our schools are in significant need of additional funding to preserve the high-quality education Greenon offers to the children of our community”.
The Enon Eagle contacted Megan Anthony, Communications Coordinator for the district, to learn more about the reductions outlined prior to the election by the school board and steps taken by other local districts following the loss of additional funding in previous elections.
When asked about reductions in transportation, Ms Anthony explained that the board did not elect to consider elimination of high school busing at this time. Of the $328,000 in budget reductions, Anthony noted that Greenon currently offers above state minimum busing, however without new monies, the district may consider busing in the future to reduce costs. Anthony noted that the board members looked at transportation reductions this spring, however the minimal savings did not outweigh safety and attendance concerns at the time.
Regarding the report of eliminating the STEM science courses for seventh and eighth grades, Anthony stated that science is one of the core courses and will continued to be offered, but not at the Science Technology Engineering and Math level.
Parents expressed concerns for the elimination of one music teacher and the elimination of choir and band at the fifth and sixth grade level. Anthony stated in her written response that the “musical program will be limited next year because of the reduction of one music teacher”. She went on to explain that the district is working on the schedule at this time to determine what can be offered with the remaining staff. She noted that band may be a possibility for sixth grade; however nothing has been decided at this time. Students will however be able to participate in General Music per the district press release of May 6, 2013.
Materials distributed prior to the election raised concerns in the community for the reduction of one Vo-Ag instructor. Prior to the election, one of the current instructors resigned due to other employment. According to Anthony, the district currently has two Vo-Ag teaching positions, one of which will be eliminated meaning that the vacant position will not be filled for 2014-15.
Other spending reductions for the district will include field trips unless they are fully funded by an outside source. “Pay-to play” fees will be increased by $200 per sport with a family cap of $500. Food and Consumer Science courses currently offered will be eliminated for the next school year, as outlined in the press release.
The district will continue to move forward with their plan to consolidate to three buildings for the 2014-2015 school year. Savings of around $700,000 have been published by the board as the district will reportedly be able to reduce staffing by 15 positions to include 4 teaching staff. It has been stated that this would be accomplished mostly by attrition. The district reportedly will reduce administration by one position (a retirement), one secretarial slot, and one human resource position.
As indicated in pre-election mailers, the district will be asking voters to approve the renewal of two levies beginning this November.