Centerville adjusts school discipline policies, considers 2019 levy

New rules stemming from a bill recently passed in the Ohio House of Representatives will be affecting disciplinary measures at Centerville City Schools in the near future, but a possible levy could affect the district even sooner.

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Centerville approved revisions to four board policies to ensure compliance with Ohio Revised Code, based on House Bill 318, which was passed earlier this month.

Centerville contracts with a service that monitors current legislation and helps the district stay in compliance with state laws, said Sarah Swan, community relations specialist for the district.

“The updated policies have to do with types of discipline that can be used by public school districts in Ohio. Now that they’ve been approved, the new language will be added to our online Board Policy Manual over the coming weeks,” Swan said.

House Bill 318 is designed to prohibit out-of-school suspensions or expulsions for pre-K to third-grade students who commit minor offenses, starting in the 2021-2022 school year. Violent offenses could still be handled via expulsion.

Centerville’s updated policies will include: removal, suspension, expulsion and permanent exclusion of students; in-school discipline; emergency removal of students, and due process rights.

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Treasurer Mitch Biederman says that four months into the fiscal year, nearly 88 percent of the district’s revenue continues to come from local sources and 12 percent of the general fund revenue comes from the state. Overall revenue is up nearly 6 percent during those months compared to last year.

He said overall projections indicate that there will be a 3.6 percent decrease in revenue for this fiscal year.

“As expected for a service organization, most of the district’s expenses are in the salary and benefits categories,” Biederman said.

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School Board President David Roer said the district is being hurt financially because of a lack of support from the state.

“When we talk about funding of our school district, only 12.1 percent is coming from the state. We have to make that up obviously through levies,” he said. “When you look at charter schools, we are losing $700,000 a year, and that’s coming right out of our district money.”

Roer said it is possible voters in the district might see a levy on the ballot next year.

“This coming 2019, it will have been six years since we have come to the voters in our district for a levy, and that’s almost unheard of in this state,” he said.

Energy Star, a voluntary program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the environment through energy efficiency, is helping the district save money, according to school officials.

Centerville’s Director of Business Operations Jon Wesney said for the fifth year in a row, all eligible Centerville school buildings earned the Energy Star Rating. These 12 facilities are among 58 Energy Star-rated school buildings in Ohio.

“Energy Star’s data shows their certificated buildings have lower operating costs, becoming better long-term assets for the district and saving money for our local taxpayers,” Wesney said, adding that the district saved an estimated $317,000 in energy costs over the past year.

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