“Especially with our staff. There’s just a lot of anxiety.” That’s what Benton-Carroll-Salem superintendent Guy Parmigian said of looming budget cuts.
Benton-Carroll-Salem schools is facing what could be a brutal loss of money: the system is set to lose nearly a quarter of its funding because of a change in the property value of Davis Besse.]
Some think a change in the tax rolls is just the first step in the plant closing.
“I'm really worried for the students that are coming up,” Oak Harbor senior Kaydence Crum said.
“We are going to fight for the preservation of this school district,” Dr. Parmigian said.
Worry is mounting for Superintendent Guy Parmisian. His school district is one of the top 30 performing in all of Ohio. The $4,590,000 pinch starts in February.
“Right now we don't want to entertain the idea of cuts,” Dr. Parmigian said. “We will if we have to, because we have to have a balanced budget.”
“We're just really worried about what teachers are going to get let go,” Crum said.
To cut costs for its struggling Davis Besse, First Energy asked for a tax re-evaluation from the state of Ohio. In just one day, the plant's value dropped from $184 million to just $49 million. That means fewer property tax dollars end up at Oak Harbor.
“We found out this may happen in March. We were given a heads up. We got the official numbers yesterday,” Dr. Parmigian said.
Parents and school leaders are hoping for help from the state or a lifeline from First Energy, but one option is a school levy. County commissioner Jim Sass says the money has to come from somewhere.
“It’s hard. Those are hard dollars to make up,” Sass said.
All this happens as First Energy hopes for $300 million of credits from this, Ohio House Bill 178. And there's still the potential that Davis Besse could close.
“It would be catastrophic. That's the word that everyone's using,” Dr. Parmigian said.
“That's the biggest thing is the fear of the unknown,” Sass said. “What exactly is going to transpire?”
Senior Kaydence Crum says even the students are talking, about what this very adult problem means for underclassmen.
“That's really scary because it's given me so much of a future.”