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Published: Wednesday, 11/29/2006

TPS plan to address deficit due in January

The superintendent of Toledo Public Schools last night said the district's plan to address a predicted $12.7 million deficit for the 2007-08 school year would be presented in January.

The school system has laid off hundreds of teachers and closed several schools over the last several years to balance its budget.

Superintendent John Foley told the board of education there are no specific plans finalized yet to close the shortfall.

Five schools - King, Fall-Meyer, and Mount Vernon elementaries and Jones and East Toledo junior highs - were shuttered in June to help close a $12 million deficit that had been calculated for the current school year.

The board was divided over whether to ask voters to support a new tax levy that chiefly would pay for salary increases and also address the predicted deficit.

There is an agreement to pay teachers a retroactive 1.48 percent pay raise for time worked since December, 2002, which totals about $11.7 million should voters approve a new tax levy.

President Darlene Fisher and board member Robert Torres voted in August against placing a levy on the Nov. 7 ballot. Members Deborah Barnett, Larry Sykes, and Steven Steel supported the five-year, 7.99-mill operating levy request. A levy request requires four affirmative votes to be placed on the ballot.

Also during the meeting, Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, said she supports an idea to have students and staff wear identification cards. Mr. Sykes suggested the idea last month but said he has been a proponent of such a measure for several years.

"We need to get badges that all the staff now have to our students as well," he said. "There are some other school [districts] that have students show an ID when [they] come into the school."

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