Thursday, November 09, 2000

School cuts loom in Norwood

Superintendent: Building may be closed

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        NORWOOD — Educators in the Norwood schools will use the next two months to talk with community members and faculty before deciding how to reduce spending after Tuesday's defeat of a five-year, 7.68-mill operating levy.

        The emergency levy failed by just 75 votes out of more than 7,400 cast, according to unofficial results from the Hamilton County Board of Elections. It was the second levy rejection for Norwood Schools in four months.

"We're still pretty stunned'
        “We're still pretty stunned. It's a tough one (to accept),” said Susan Geselbracht, president of the Norwood school board. “As a community, we're going to have to come together and see what we're going to do about this.”

        The levy would have brought $2.4 million to district coffers annually. It was to have replaced a 2.7-mill levy approved in 1995 that brings in $868,000 annually and expires at the end of this year.

        With the levy expiring and no new dollars to replace it, the $1.1 million in cuts made earlier this year will stand and the board will have to decide how to reduce spending another $1 million for the 2001-02 school year, said Superintendent Barbara Rider. There are 39 fewer teachers and aides this year because of the cuts.

        All areas will be studied, including closing a school or restructuring grade levels and buildings, Ms. Rider said. Later this month, Ms. Rider said, she will ask the board to approve a resolution allowing the Ohio School Facilities Commission to assess the district's six buildings to determine which are the most cost-efficient to operate.

        Norwood's schools average 80 years old with the newest building 30 years old and the oldest, 108 years old, Ms. Rider said.

        “We'll use November and December to get input and take recommendations (for cuts) to the January or February board meeting,” Ms. Rider said.

Some good news
        Not all news was negative.

        The number of “yes” votes Tuesday was more than quadruple the number in August's election, when 867 people voted to support the issue.

        “We want to continue that momentum of increasing support,” Ms. Rider said.


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- School cuts loom in Norwood
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