Located in Orwell in Ashtabula County, Grand Valley is a district of 1,363 students attending the elementary, middle and high schools. In 2010-11, the District’s budget was $13.9 million.
In the 2012-13 state budget, authored by Governor Kasich and endorsed by the majority GOP legislature, Grand Valley lost $680,000.
The district has been tightening its belt for years, but the state funding cuts hit hard. In all, the district has cut $1.2 million in spending in the past four years and $650,000 in the last year alone. Even without collective bargaining reform, the district was able to achieve savings by implementing a salary freeze and asking employees to pay more for their health insurance, but it wasn’t enough.
Recent measures to cut costs hit students directly. 27 staff, including teachers were eliminated. Pay-to-play fees were imposed and then increased. Bus routes were eliminated or combined.
Even worse, the District cancelled music, art, library and physical education at the elementary level as well as coaches, weekend and after school programs, special ed teachers and career advisers at all levels.
On November 6, the district will be seeking a 5-year, 4.9-mill emergency operating levy. If passed, the levy will generate $815,000 per year and increase tax bills by$150 on a $100,000 home.
If the levy fails, further cuts will be required. But given what has already been cut, it’s hard to imagine what else is left.