The superintendent for Anthony Wayne Schools said that if Jason Apgar were a graduate student, he would've received an A for a project he completed recently.
But Mr. Apgar doesn't receive grades anymore. He gives them.
Mr. Apgar, 30, a history and government teacher at Anthony Wayne High School, made an impression on Superintendent John Granger, the board of education, fellow teachers, and parents with research he presented at a school board meeting last month.
The presentation challenged the Ohio Department of Education's conclusion that the district was headed toward a $1.25 million deficit because of staffing.
A state education department report in January said the district was overstaffed by 32 teachers. It projected $27.2 million in salary and expenses on teachers this year, or 86.55 percent of its total expenditures.
Mr. Apgar, though, countered with research that suggests the district is well within its means compared to other northwest Ohio districts.
"I thought he hit the nail right on the head," Mr. Granger said. "His report confirmed my belief that we're running a great school district here."
According to Mr. Apgar, Anthony Wayne spent less per student ($8,169) than the state average of $9,355 in 2005-06, and less than a host of other area districts.
Mr. Apgar said Ottawa Hills spent the most per student ($11,639), followed by Oregon ($10,979), Rossford ($10,816), Bowling Green ($10,180), Maumee ($10,022), Sylvania ($9,400), Perrysburg ($9,194), and Springfield ($8,912).
He said his district had more students per teacher (20.1), and its average teacher salary ($52,149) was less than all the other districts mentioned.
He blamed Anthony Wayne's financial troubles on the state's formula for funding education, which is based on property valuation, and the district's increasing enrollment.
Anthony Wayne has picked up 199 students this year alone.
"The point was if something like this [deficit] could happen at Anthony Wayne, it could happen anywhere," Mr. Apgar said.
Mr. Granger said there were no plans to lay off teachers even before Mr. Apgar's presentation.
Anthony Wayne officials hope to reduce the deficit through attrition and spending limits while encouraging voters to approve a five-year, 4.5-mill operating levy in May, he said.
Without the new millage levy, the district could be headed for a $4.5 million deficit in 2008, Mr. Granger said.
A mill is a $1 tax for every $1,000 of assessed, taxable property.
Mr. Granger said he will propose job cuts and restructuring of the district's administrative staff during the school board's next meeting on April 23. More than $200,000 in annual savings is being sought.
"This is something that was in our original plan for financial recovery," Mr. Granger said. "Those who are anti-levy will see we're committed to reducing our expenditures, but we need to have both. We need to reduce expenditures and pass the levy."