School concerns: A dozen jobs lost could be just the beginning in one district

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LAGRANGE, Ohio- The failure of a school levy last fall is now costing about a dozen people their jobs in the Keystone School District, and several other major changes could be coming this June including the elimination of all Advanced Placement or AP honors classes, and/or the entire sports program.

The $1.4 million five-year school operating levy failed in November by about a couple hundred votes.

Now parents and students say they’re worried about the future of the district.

“Keystone is known for having a great academic program and great sports programs,” said graduating senior Athena Townsley, one of about 100 people attending a school board meeting Monday night at the high school.

Another graduating senior, Paige Forbush said, “It won’t affect me, but my younger sister won’t be able to participate in the gifted and talented programs.”

But Superintendent Jay Arbaugh said the district’s facing a dire financial situation because they haven’t passed an operating levy in 20 years and they can no longer afford the extra programs.

He said the state of Ohio basically funded new buildings but they don’t have the money to run them.

A first round of cuts was announced Monday at the meeting and included about a dozen people being let go. They include academic aids, custodians and school monitors.

In an effort to save jobs and programs, the superintendent said they are putting the levy back on the ballot for an emergency vote in May.

If it doesn’t pass this time, much more significant cuts will be announced in June.

“Without money, we’ll get through it, but what it means… I just don’t know,” said Mr. Arbaugh.

In the meantime, the superintendent said they plan on holding information meetings and want to hear from the public.