TPS votes to save Libbey

Libbey High School

TPS held a special board meeting Thursday night to discuss two proposed budgets, but after voting in favor of two proposed reductions, board members did not vote on the 2010 budget.

The budgets reflect cuts in the amounts of $17.5 million and $30 million. If the district is able to secure a .75% income tax levy that goes before voters in May, the cuts will be less severe. Both budgets were balanced under the assumption that Libbey High School would close, saving the district over $1,250,000.

It hasn TMt been easy to get to this level, said superintendent John Foley. We TMve looked in every corner to try and find a reduction. We TMve tried to cut away from classrooms, away from jobs as much as possible and one way to make a lot of cuts across the barn units is to close schools.

The board was divided, 3-2, with board members Jack Ford, Brenda Hill and Larry Sykes voting to save Libbey. Bob Vasquez, board president of TPS and vice president Lisa Sobecki voted against keeping Libbey open.

A Libbey victory comes at a cost. TPS had been in negotiations with the Toledo Federations of Teachers about proposed layoffs and cuts. President of the TFT Francine Lawrence says the deal they reached with TPS has just been torpedoed. Lawrence says there was a deal five hours ago, but now here is no longer a tentative settlement between Toledo Public Schools and the Toledo Federation of Teachers.

The proposed budgets TPS voted to approve are no longer balanced. Over $1 milion in additional cuts must be made now that the board has decided to keep Libbey open. Board members say even though Libbey will remain open, they must find a permanent solution or the South Toledo high school will be on the chopping block against after the next academic year.

Superintendent Foley says he will look for more cuts. The 2010 budget must be balanced and submitted by June 30, 2010.