Board plans town hall meeting post levy

by Laura Bednar

May 10 board of education special meeting

The Independence Local Schools Board of Education scheduled a town hall meeting for May 31, at 6 p.m., at Independence High School for school parents and community members to ask questions and discuss district plans following the failure of the May 2 ballot levy.

Board President Joan Mencl said she felt badly about the restraints on the district to promote the levy. Superintendent Ben Hegedish explained that the Ohio Auditor does not permit public officials to promote levies.

“People got information second hand, not from us,” said Mencl.

Board members discussed proposed reductions in the district’s finances, which included a 10% reduction in building, curriculum, athletic and technology budgets; larger class sizes; limited field trips; and pausing the addition of any new clubs or programs.

“I’m not recommending cuts right now,” said Hegedish.

Board member Carrie Sears said she did not want to make any changes that would affect the students. “We can be more creative,” she said. “I don’t agree with going this route until we look elsewhere.”

Hegedish said the list of reductions was compiled after talking to other administrators in the district. Treasurer Eric Koehler said the district has been deficit spending for almost three years and to continue that trend is not a good option. The district is projected to deficit spend $1.5 million next year.

The next chance for the district to go back to the ballot is Nov. 7. The board would have to approve two resolutions for the levy, one in June and another in July, before submitting to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections by Aug. 9.

Hegedish said no final decision has been made but going back to the ballot this fall “seems to be the general direction.” ∞