The Lima News
The Elida School district has earned the reputation of being the toughest place in the region to pass a school levy. Tuesday, it turned down another funding request.
This came despite solid efforts of school officials to explain how they've controlled spending in the past and why the levy was needed. They pointed out:
• Only 49 school districts in Ohio spend less per pupil than Elida.
• The funding the district receives from the state is currently at 2004 levels.
• The district has cut $2.8 million out of the budget the last five years.
• In the last 10 years, 43 staff positions have been cut and 20 student programs reduced.
In turning down the request, many residents said the school system needed some new people to examine its financial situation. Others also cited mistrusts.
Simply put, they took the easy way out.
The district has elected new school board members over and over, only to have most of them conclude the same thing — money is not being squandered, there's just not enough of it to meet the educational needs. That's also been the conclusion of the last two superintendents, Todd Hanes and Don Diglia. Soon a new person will be replacing Diglia and residents shouldn't be surprised when his or her conclusions are the same.
New school board member Jeff Christoff was correct when he noted Elida students are being put in the middle of the contention between the school board and the rest of the community.
“We really need to heal the relationship with the community because right now both the district and the community members are using the kids as leverage. The district is saying we need the money to do these things, and the community's saying we want to see these things being done before we give you the money,” Christoff told The Lima News.
Diglia also was right on with is assessment Tuesday night, as unfortunate as it is.
“Maybe we've done too good of a job in making cuts. When you do it over 10 years you do it through attrition, you do a little bit at a time. You don't feel a lot of pain. Unfortunately, that's where we're at now. There's going to have to be some pain felt.”