Tough Road

NO SCHOOL district in Eastern Ohio is rolling in cash. Far from it, as most are fighting hard to stay in the black.

While the financial plight of the Bellaire School District has been well documented for several years now, Switzerland of Ohio schools appear to be the poster boy for financially challenged school systems.

Bellaire, while still repaying state loan money, has turned the corner and is operating in the black this year. It is heading in the right direction.

The same cannot be said for Switzerland of Ohio schools. After the rejection of its levy request in the May election, the district has been forced to implement an austerity program.

Hardships are reverberating throughout the expansive district. Dozens of teachers have lost their positions. The curriculum has been pared and a play to participate policy is being put in place.

Consequently, Switzerland of Ohio has lost some of its quality administrators and many students to neighboring districts. And lastly, the board of education severed ties with its superintendent.

It is safe to say, these are uneasy times in the district. Tough issues call for tough decisions.

The first point of business is for the board members to do their homework in timely fashion and employ an interim superintendent. It should be an individual willing and able make decisions in the best interest of the district, disregarding the buddy system.

Secondly, the board must make an attempt to get everyone on the same page in an effort to gain passage of a 7.72-mill levy on the November ballot. The levy is crucial to the long-term future of the district.

Another election defeat would have catastrophic effects on an already beleaguered district. The exodus of students, already a problem, would likely escalate.

Switzerland of Ohio Board of Education members find themselves running a district at the crossroads. They face a monumental task in righting the ship. However, it is not an impossible one, as other districts have climbed out of deep holes.

A premium has now been placed on every decision the district’s board of education makes. One misstep could prove fatal.