Tired of the state’s gap-elimination adjustment system that cuts funding from school districts, the Cleveland Hill Board of Education will consider a resolution calling for its elimination later this month.
The gap-elimination adjustment system was established in 2010 when the state was desperate to balance its budget after a severe financial crisis. After districts had received record funding levels, the new system hammered districts such as Cleveland Hill, which was forced to cut staff and programs like modified sports to make ends meet.
Since its inception, the gap-elimination adjustment has cut at least $1.3 million every year, with a high of $2.2 million in the 2011-12 school year, for a total of $8.1 million thus far.
Cleveland Hill has lobbied against the gap-elimination adjustment for several years now. Superintendent Jon T. MacSwan said the district is participating in a gap-elimination rally in Kenmore on Feb. 27, and several other area schools are considering a resolution similar to the one Cleveland Hill is considering. Although the board won’t vote on the issue until its next meeting Feb. 26, several members expressed their support for the measure.
Eliminating the gap system would certainly benefit Cleveland Hill this year, as preliminary 2014-15 budget estimates project an increase of $486,433 in spending, but only a $53,951 bump in general state aid. The district’s tax levy cap this year is a 1.46 percent increase, or $177,964 more than last year.
In other matters, the district is preparing a special ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of an elementary school fire that claimed the lives of 15 students March 31, 1954.
MacSwan said that the ceremony is scheduled for the morning of March 29 and that a committee is working on developing an interactive memorial that will tell the story of the fire and its victims.