CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee Board of Education members and administrators announced planned reductions in staff and possible reductions in student services if a general operations levy fails to pass in May during their regular monthly meeting Wednesday, Feb. 24.
The .75-percent levy, which would cost taxpayers in the school district less than a dollar for every $100 of income, was defeated at the polls in 2020. Last renewed in 2010, the measure has been rejected by voters repeatedly since 2015.
The district is projecting funds in its accounts to become dangerously low by the end of the 2022-23 school year, according to Superintendent Dr. Matt Bishop, which could potentially lead to intervention by the State of Ohio that would result in “huge” class numbers and very few elective courses or other special services.
The board announced in February that two teachers, including a high school language arts instructor, would be let go regardless of whether the levy passes in May.
“We’ll give notice to those teachers tomorrow,” Bishop said. “And we’ll continue to look, personnel-wise, for places where we might be able to cut costs.”
If the levy does fail to pass, bussing for ninth through twelfth-grade students will be eliminated, according to Bishop, as well as bussing for any student who lives within a two-mile radius of the school. Seventh through twelfth-grade students, meanwhile, will be charged $400 per season in fees in order to participate in school sports.
Board vice president Jeff Wood stated that most school districts in the county charge to participate in sports, saying that Shawnee students’ ability to participate without any fees is “something special.”
Also during last month’s meeting:
Special Education Director and Preschool Supervisor Jennifer Taulbee updated the board on plans to take eighth and ninth-grade students to Washington D.C. The trip is scheduled to take place May 24-29, according to Taulbee. Last year’s trip was indefinitely postponed due to concerns related to COVID-19.
“Maybe I’m looking with rose-colored glasses, but I feel good about it,” Taulbee said amid concerns that the trip might once again be postponed. “I think things are going to be improved.”
Taulbee said that sites traditionally visited during the yearly trip, including the Smithsonian, are expected to be open for business for May. Taulbee also addressed health and safety concerns.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and if it’s not safe we’ll push it back,” she said.
Preble Shawnee Board of Education meetings take place the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Junior and Senior High School Media Center.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish