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  Committee In Support Of 3.9-Mil Issue Begins Campaign  
  Public Levy Monies Would Go To So-Called Charter Schools:   by John A. Darnell, Assoc Editor   August 30, 2012 Edition  
     The Friends of Boardman Schools Committee will officially started its campaign to support a 3.9-mil, three-year emergency school levy that will be on the November ballot at Monday night’s Boardman Local School Board meeting.
      The school board, facing losses in state subsidies that has amounted to more than $15 million over the past decade, projects its $45 million annual budget will be in the red within three years, despite teachers and certified staffers working under so-called pay freezes for the past six years.
      Wages and benefits consume upwards of 86 per cent of the system’s annual budget.
      If approved, the 3.9-mil issue would pump about $1.5 million annually into the school system. Some of those funds would be siphoned-off to the so-called charter schools who currently enroll Boardman children, but lie outside the boundaries of the Boardman Local School District.
      Friends of Boardman Schools is a citizen/parent led organization co-chaired by Jeff Barone and Vickie Davis.
      “Our members are concerned for the future of our children, our schools and our community,” says Barone, adding “We have an excellent school district now…and that’s despite losing $15 million in state funding over the last 10 years. If we’re going to keep our schools and community excellent, we need to help fill the funding gap.”
      “Friends of Boardman Schools is all about accountability,” says Davis. “As taxpayers and parents, we’ve seen the school district aggressively cut teachers and staff in an effort to do more with less. Our school leaders have demonstrated they are conservative financial stewards of our money. They keep dollars in the classroom where they belong, and they’ll do the same with these desperately-needed new funds.”
      Davis and Barone point out the district has not asked the voters for a new levy since 2003. That 5.9 levy was originally supposed to serve the district for five years, and it has been stretched to last nine years.
      The Boardman Local School District employs some 280 teachers whose fiscal year 2011 annual salary was reported to be $55,126.
      Enrollment figures for the Boardman Local School System, according to figures supplied by the school administration, has steadily declined since 1995 when 5,278 students were enrolled.
      During the 2011-12 school year, enrollment was reported at 4,776 students.
      Projected enrollment for the upcoming, 2012-13 year is estimated close to 4600 students, but the district says it is still enrolling children.
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