Carroll Hills School Levy Up For Renewal

November 6, 2012 the Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities will ask the community to support renewing our Carroll Hills School levy. Currently 47 out of 88 County Boards of Developmental Disabilities have schools. The Board first passed the School levy on November 7, 2006. Superintendent Tom Shearer saw the need to pass a levy with specific language to protect Carroll Hills School from funding cuts and increasing costs for adult services. The 3 year 1 mill school levy was renewed in 2009.
In 2011 Carroll Hills School served 56 preschoolers and 28 school age students. The Board had 26 children on the preschool waiting list. Early Intervention services are also provided at the school along with physical, speech, and occupational therapy services. Early intervention services were provided to 39 children in 2011. Early intervention services are one of the most valuable services the Board provides. Research shows for every dollar spent 7 dollars is saved in possible future services. Early intervention services provide families and children with therapy and other training necessary for children to develop at their fullest potential. Research shows that the window to do the most improvement in a person?s life is birth to age 6. Therefore, providing services early and often means less extensive services will be needed later.
Carroll Hills School employs 6 teachers, 7 full-time classroom aides, and 12 aides that are paid for by local school districts. Children come from Carrollton, Minerva, Malvern, Conotton Valley, and Toronto Schools. Staff to student ratios are determined by Individual Education Plans and rules from the Ohio Department of Education. Ohio Department of Education provides funding for teachers and 1 classroom aide in each class. Preschool student numbers per classroom are set at minimum 8 students and maximum 16 students. Preschool is required to have at least 4 typically developing students as role models for children with disabilities. School age minimum is 6 students and maximum is 8 students.
A one mill levy generates $435,000 a year. 2011 school expenses were $1,563,656 and revenue was $1,376,527. The Board is addressing the deficit of $187,129 by reducing staff, purchasing mechanic services from Carrollton Exempted Village School District, having school districts pay for therapy services for the past 2 years, and looking at ways to address transportation costs. This year classroom aides will be utilized as bus aides replacing the workshop staff that formerly used to bus aide.
So, why should you vote for renewing the school levy? The Board is not asking for new money and has changed the levy from a 3 year levy to a 10 year levy. It is the intent of this administration to live within the means of what the voters have already approved. Everyone should be aware that the school levy will not increase your taxes. However, your taxes will be increased in 2013 due to the collection of our main operating levy (this levy is for the entire program) at its full amount. The Board was fortunate to have a replacement levy passed in 2008 which was 3.6 mills with the agreement to hold it back until funding cuts made it necessary to collect the full amount. Levy law made it necessary to collect the levy at its entire amount the first year in 2010. The second year it was held back double to make up for the first year. The Board will experience a $600,000 deficit in 2012 and be around $400,000 short of a balanced budget for 2013. Thus, the need to collect the levy at its entire amount starting in 2013.
I believe that Carroll Hills School is an integral part of Carroll County. Please ask anyone who has a child in early intervention, preschool, or school age services what difference Carroll Hills School has made in their child?s life. Carroll Hills School works diligently with local school districts to give parents the best services possible and another option for their children who have disabilities. Our staff provides a caring home like setting and has the specialty knowledge to help students become more independent. Thank you for your support, your support has made it possible to provide quality services for many years!