ST. PARIS, Ohio (WDTN) – Voters in Champaign County have once again voted down a school levy for Graham Local Schools.
The income tax levy has failed four straight times and now the district will consider taking a different approach.
First though, Graham must make staff cuts, increase student participation fees and trim existing bus routes.
“When someone loses their job, I’m the one who tells them. It’s part of my job,” said Superintendent Kirk Koennecke. “It’s not what I signed up for. Last year we did it 15 times. We’ll have to do it again this year.”
Another $600,000 has to go from the budget. The district recently cut back on busing after the last failed levy in December. Graham serves more than 2,000 kids, making it one of the larger rural districts in Ohio.
“If you live outside of a two mile radias, you are still getting a ride. Now with the future cuts, students who live within a two miles radios of St. Paris will not have transportation to schools,” said Koennecke.
As cuts happen in the coming weeks, the district plans at looking at different levy types and asking for less if needed.
Koennecke is hopeful that state legislation will eventually give rural districts more funding opportunities. But until then, he’s headed back to the campaign trail.
“Lets face it. We are not getting any help from the federal government or state government. Ultimately our community here locally owns the schools. They have to decide what type of investment and quality they want out of local schools,” said Koennecke.
Graham has not passed a new funding levy in 26 years.