BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath schools cannot afford to lose nearly $4 million of its $15 million budget. But that’s exactly what will happen if voters don’t support a renewal levy on the ballot in November.
“It is a huge part of our budget,” Superintendent Dale Lewellen said.
The school board voted Tuesday to begin the process of putting the five-year, 11.6 mills renewal on the ballot. It will need to pass another resolution later to officially get on.
The levy, which raises about $3.7 million a year for district operations, does not expire until the end of 2014. The district could go back to voters again before then.
The renewal is especially crucial, Lewellen said, because the district has been deficit spending. It deficit spent $478,000 in 2012 and projects to deficit spend $1.89 million in 2013. Lewellen said the deficit is because of reductions in state support, including cuts in tangible personal property tax income and decreasing property values.
“We have just been hit with revenue decreases over the past four or five years,” he said.
The district has been trying to save money to avoid asking voters for new money. It saved about $400,000 last year through attrition and expects to save more this year.
“We are trying to mitigate the deficit spending to get us to the point where we still have a healthy enough reserve balance and don’t have to rush out right away,” Lewellen said.
He said there is not much more the district can cut. Class sizes already increased significantly from last year’s reductions, he said.
“To reduce any more and raise class sizes any more or cut programs would be a significant impact on our children’s education,” Lewellen said.
The school board also approved the retirement and then rehiring of high school Principal Rick Gross. He received a four-year contract. Lewellen said doing the retire-rehire will save the district more than $30,000 a year.
Bath Superintendent Dale Lewellen