Waterloo cautious with new levy funds

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published:

The Waterloo Board of Education repeatedly thanked the community on Thursday for approving the school district's five-year, 5.9-mill emergency levy earlier this month, and stressed that the district must stay cautious with its finances.

Board President Brian Pusateri thanked voters, the Waterloo Community Action Committee, volunteers and board members.

"We really appreciate it, and we are going to continue operating very fiscally responsible," Pusateri said. "The last levy that was passed was in 1995 was slated to last three to five years and it lasted 18 years. We're going to do everything we can to make (this levy) last as long as possible."

The 5.9-mill emergency levy will raise about $940,000 per year beginning in 2014, saves Waterloo from entering state control and allows the district the chance to gain financial security after making about $2 million in operating cuts during the past two years.

The district plans to use the money to maintain Waterloo's current operations without bringing back programs and staffing that were eliminated with cuts.

For now, the board still has a levy request on the May ballot. It was added as a precaution if the February levy request failed.

Superintendent Andrew Hill said the Portage County Board of Elections won't have the February special election results certified until the end of the month. After the election results are finalized, Hill said a resolution to remove the request from the May ballot will be on the school board's March agenda.

"The board of elections has made it very clear to us that they don't anticipate anything happening, but because they don't have a deadline that we're up against to be able to pull off the ballot, we may as well wait until we officially have the certification," Hill said.

The board was questioned on the possibility of eliminating or lowering the $300 pay-to-play fees that were tacked on to extracurricular activities, and responded after some discussion that it is too soon to eliminate or lower the fees.

The district's current five-year forecast accounts for pay-to-play fees, and the district won't see any levy money until 2014.

"As we see how things happen and have done some internal changes that will save us money, I do believe that this should be a discussion for next school year in my mind," Hill said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com

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  • Black mailed? How? You might as well do some research yourself Redleg6. Do you know anything about Waterloo's Union?

  • Paid, not black mailed by the union with the kids in the middle.

  • JustaThought....do some research yourself. Waterloo teachers are the lowest paided in the Stark, Portage, and Summit tri-county area. Teaching is a career that requires a Bachelors degree with much more education on top of that. A professional career should be payed like the rest. If that career is soooo good, go be one yourself. Btw, hasn't the union been on a three year pay freeze?? Nevermind, they should probably do it for nothing. Remember, you get what you pay for!

  • hey truthbknown,.....If you would like the truth to be known it's the unions which run the school which don"t care about anything other than the money. If you thought this levy was for anything other than maintaining pay scales at the high point they have been frozen at you are certainly a bit detached from reality.

  • The "We'll make it last as long as we can" does cause me some concern.... Lets see I'm only a graduate of Waterloo but if I'm not mistaken a 5 year levy lasts what 5 years?..... I sure hope your weren't planning on asking for more before that.

  • $300.00 to chase a ball is to much. Waterloo needs different people to budget the money. People who know how to do it. The school has gone down hill in the last few years, and I do not see that changing just because the levy passed. They are being cautious with the money? Not bringing back any of the teachers or programs that were cut? WTH? I think I will enroll my child in a different school district. Waterloo does not care about the kids. Just the money.