Tomorrow Starts Here

The topics of operating levy and school district reconfiguration continue to be on the minds of many in our school district.  This is an update on several key activities in our district in order to help you better understand where we are and what will be happening in the next few weeks/months in relation to these two important issues.

  • The Board of Education held a work session (seen here on GTV) on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 to discuss the need for a levy on the May 2018 ballot.  This was the first formal step in determining if the district will pursue another levy attempt.  

    • The Board directed the Treasurer/CFO and Superintendent to prepare the initial resolution necessary for a 3.9 mill operating levy request to appear on the May 2018 ballot.

    • The final resolution needed to place the issue on the ballot would likely be considered at the January 2018 regular Board meeting.

  • We are in the process of identifying budget reductions that will help address the shortfall caused by the actions of the Ohio Legislature.  We are continuing to discuss possible areas for reduction and looking to carve an estimated one million dollars from the 2018-19 operating budget.  There is some thought in our community that if the Board moves forward in May with an operating levy, and that request is approved by the community, that the cuts will not occur.  That is unlikely as we are now not collecting an estimated 2.5 million dollars during 2018 due to the failure of Issue 26.  That shortfall, in addition to the state cuts, will need to be addressed moving forward.

Chardon Local Schools

DRAFT - Budget Reduction Considerations - DRAFT

December 12, 2017 Board Work Session

The following is a draft of potential areas identified for reduction.  Inclusion on this listing does not indicate a decision to move forward with a specific budget reduction, only that it is under review.  Areas currently under consideration for budget reductions include, but are not limited to:


Reduction/Revenue Estimate


Across-the-Board 5% Reduction in School Discretionary Budgets (supplies & materials)


Increase in Pay to Participate Fee for Athletics/Extracurricular Activities


$500 each sport at high school level.

$375 each sport at middle school level.

Reduction of one Administrative Position Due to Retirement


This reduction is conditioned upon the implementation of district reconfiguration plan.

Includes salary, benefits and other related costs.

City of Chardon Recreation Program Overtime Elimination


Reduction of Lake Academy Participation


CLSD has created a stand-alone credit recovery program at CHS.

Reduction of General Fund Equipment Budget


Maintenance Salary Shift to Permanent Improvement Fund


Elimination of Department Chair Supplementals




  • On a parallel track is the work on district reconfiguration.  There is some thought in our community that this is being done in response to the levy failure, or that passage of a levy in May 2018 will mean that we do not move forward with reconfiguration.  A few thoughts in this regard:

    • Reconfiguration is driven by our strategic plan (approved in 2015) and declining enrollment - not the levy failure.  This work needed to be undertaken regardless of the status of the levy in November and has been in the district’s strategic plan since its approval in 2015.

    • Similar to other communities, Chardon is seeing a natural “life cycle” in terms of enrollment.  The chart below shows a forty-year history of actual enrollment and enrollment projections (where available).  You can see that our enrollment grew and peaked in the mid-2000’s and is now returning to levels seen in the late-1980’s.  This trend is not unique to Chardon Schools.  The Mentor Public schools saw a peak in enrollment of approximately 14,000 students and has since declined to about 7,500 students and closed schools over the past 6 years and is currently considering another restructuring effort to respond to continued enrollment decline.  

  • If you consider enrollment in other Geauga/Lake County school districts 2008-09 through 2016-17, you will see consistent trends of declining enrollment.  The following table presents enrollment data (percentage decline in parentheses) for these districts during that time period:


Enrollment 08/09

Enrollment 16/17



2,823   (10%)



1,283   (26%)



1,042   (23%)



2,756   (13%)

West Geauga


1,903   (19%)



398    (39%)



4,192   (15%)

* Riverside is closing elementary buildings and is engaged in a capital building plan to restructure district school facilities and long-term plans include reconfiguration of grade structure.

  • Reconfiguration planning is not a retaliatory action for the levy failure.

  • Reconfiguration planning is not a threat so that the community will pass a levy in May.

  • Most important, work on reconfiguration planning is ongoing at this time.  We cannot say with any certainty that everything will fall into place to make this plan a reality for 2018-19.  At the present time, it is fair to say that there are as many questions as answers related to the proposal.  However, we owe it to our students and community to explore options for more cost-effective operation of the district that may also bring additional benefit to our instructional program.

Our district team has scheduled presentations on the status of the reconfiguration planning at each elementary school over the next several weeks (See schedule below). This presentation will provide general information concerning reconfiguration, as well as discussion of how the plan may affect each specific school. There will likely be more detail in the later presentations as our administrative team continues to work on the planning effort.


December 19 - Maple PTO - 5:30 PM

December 19 - Munson PTO - 7:00 PM

January 16 - Park PTO - 6:30 PM

January 17 - Hambden PTO - 6:00 PM

A page has been created on the district website concerning district reconfiguration planning. Please visit here for updates over the next several months.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions in this regard.


Michael P. Hanlon, Jr., Ph.D.


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