District 2019 report says B-C-S strong, but at crossroads

BY SUPERINTENDANT GUY L. PARMIGIAN

In 2019, the state of the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District is strong, but at a crossroads.  The journey this school district has been on has been one of superior academic performance while operating in a fiscally conservative manner respecting the hardworking taxpayers of our district.

This is evidenced, for example, by the fact that the amount of salaries paid did not increase over a 6-year period.  Students are thriving in the classroom and in the opportunities they find beyond the classroom, from the wrestling mat to the concert stage.

School buildings remain centers of our community social life filled with activities for all ages, both day and night. Always reaching to improve, the staff of Benton-Carroll-Salem are persistently looking to innovate, improve, and to provide our students with the best possible opportunities preparing them for the challenges of higher education, training, the workforce, and life in a democratic society.

The bottom line is that our community has come to expect excellence from Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools as we have come to expect the same of ourselves.
The reality of dollars and cents has put us at a crossroads. With the stroke of a pen at the Ohio Department of Taxation, one event put us here at this cross roads: The de-valuation of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station.  Our property tax collections year to date are down $2,134,039.00, a loss of 37%.

If that wasn’t enough, a key payment (PUTPP) from the state is being phased out at the rate of about $300,000 per year. These are the type of financial hits that you cannot cut your way out of without decimating the school district. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration when state level school funding experts called the losses B-C-S is experiencing “unprecedented” in the history of school funding in Ohio.
Now, our community has some questions to answer about the direction of our school district.  I will be the first to say that spending of dollars does not equal a great education, but a certain amount of funds are necessary to provide the educational opportunities that our students have available to them today. That amount — what is necessary — is what B-C-S is asking for at the polls on May 7 in the form of a 1% earned income tax.

So, do our young people deserve the educational opportunities they have today, or do they deserve much less? These are the stakes.

Someone funded the education of the adults in our community today, whether it was in the Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools or somewhere else.  What, now, is our ethical and moral obligation to the current and future generations of youth regarding their education?
School districts are also a key ingredient in economic development of our area for both retaining and attracting good wage jobs to our community.  Will our district be viewed as an asset when people look into remaining in or moving to our area, or will it be viewed as a liability? School districts are a key ingredient in keeping property values stable.

Will B-C-S be an asset or a liability?
Day in and day out our students and staff are persevering, working hard despite the anxiety and financial uncertainty that hangs over B-C-S. The passion and energy that you find flowing through our schools are truly a point of pride!

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