Students going into education can help BG schools with votes

Jason Henry and Jason Henry

Graduating education majors could have trouble finding jobs in the area if a proposed renewal levy for the Bowling Green City Schools fails.

A failed levy could cause a $2.5 million cut in the district’s budget that would eliminate teaching positions and limit the amount of new hires.

“[Renewal] means no new taxes or new money,” said Hugh Caumartin, superintendent for Bowling Green City Schools.

The levy, which was originally established in 2005, is renewed every five years.

Caumartin said the $2.5 million is roughly 10 percent of the school district’s budget and the loss of it would have a huge impact.

“It would end up in everything from reduction of personnel, which would be significant, to elimination of all athletic events and any other events that are supported by the schools outside of regular activities,” Caumartin said. “In other words, all extracurricular activities.”

George Offenberg, principal at Milton Elementary, said some budget cuts have already been put in place regardless of whether the levy passes or not.

“This year we’ve already experienced no student council and no field trips at all,” Offenberg said.

These programs will not be reinstated even if the levy passes because the levy will not generate new revenue; it will just prevent a loss of money, he said.

Offenberg said the school district has received the same amount of funding from the state since 1998, which means a lot of the school’s funding relies on local residents.

University students should vote for the levy because it will help the district maintain what it has without any additional costs to voters, he said.

Caumartin said it is critical for University students to vote on the issue, and supporting the schools will benefit educational students by allowing for job opportunities.

“It would be between 1,200 to 1,400 students who are going out into education looking for jobs,” Caumartin said. “And without this money, we won’t be hiring.”

He said schools all over Ohio are cutting positions, from smaller districts like Wapakoneta to major ones like Cleveland, which just announced it would eliminate over 730 teachers.

“So you want to make sure you keep as many opportunities as you can, so it would be well worth their while to vote,” Caumartin said.

If the levy fails, many programs such as the Alcohol/Drug Prevention will be eliminated, as well as gifted programming, Offenberg said.

The district will also have to reduce 17 certified teachers at all levels, four tutors and one administrator.

He said there are no planned building closings.