Bethel board discusses funding

By Cecilia Fox -

BETHEL TWP. — At their meeting Monday night, the Bethel board of education recognized student achievement, heard an update on construction and discussed upcoming levies.

In January, the board voted to place two five-year renewal levies on the May 2 ballot. The first, an operating levy, is set at 7 mills, which would generate about $1 million, and the second, a 2 mill permanent improvement levy, would generate around $200,000 per year.

Superintendent Ginny Potter said the renewal of those levies is crucial because, if Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget is approved in its current form, the district is facing more cuts in state funding.

“These renewals are necessary to our existence for next year,” Potter said.

Because the district’s student population is continuing to grow, if the levies are not renewed, the district may have to ask open enrollment students to leave the district, she added.

“Some of our open enrollment students have been here six years and this is the only school they know. I really don’t want to do that,” Potter said. The district’s enrollment is now at 1307, up from 1297 in December.

Treasurer Randy Bryant pointed out that the budget will undergo more revisions before it is approved, but added that “revisions, at least historically, have not been positive in nature.”

According to Bryant, the district’s funding in the last budget started out at 10 percent, and was cut to half that amount by the time it was approved.

“That cap is costing us somewhere between $2 and $3 million dollars a year,” he said. “That’s real destructive to this particular district.”

The board also congratulated district students on their performance at the countywide science fair on Feb. 9.

Of the 11 Bethel 5th-8th grade students who participated in the Miami County Science Fair last week, nine received superior ratings and will move on to district science fair held on Saturday, March 11.

Those students include Alaina Yarwick, Adam Cartwright, Allison Cartwright, Lisa Sebastian, Julie Sebastian, Alenia Shemo, Liezl Gustafson, Ellie Morvatz, Lucas Arnold, Erika Garcia, McKenna Gray, and Natalie Moorman.

According to the district’s owner’s representative, Joe Harkleroad, campus will be a zoo this summer. When school ends for the year, the modular classroom units will be removed to make way for other site improvements.

He added that bids for new furniture have been received and the district “did very well there.”

Board member Brian Moore thanked Harkleroad for keeping the board abreast “of the good news and the bad news.”

By Cecilia Fox

Reach Cecilia Fox at

Reach Cecilia Fox at