Superintendent: Jobs may be cut in wake of Stuart and Killen power plant sale

Posted at 6:12 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 19:50:05-05

MANCHESTER, Ohio -- Crystal Roberts focused on grading student art projects Friday at Manchester High School.

But pending budget cuts for the 900-student district were in the back of her mind.

"It's going to be devastating," Roberts said.

The announced closings of the Stuart and Killen power stations in Adams County have sent shockwaves through the county's economy. Residents are still trying to figure out how to replace the lost tax dollars, and this is especially true for the Manchester Local School System.

The district used a surplus to cover $750,000 in lost tax revenue this school year because power plant equipment was devalued.

For the fall term, $1.5 million must be cut.

"It's going to be a lot of cutbacks," Roberts said. "It's going to affect a lot of people's careers. You know, we are from a small school."

Dr. Charles Shreve, superintendent of Manchester Local Schools, said much of the savings will come from cuts made within the 110 person staff, but that's just the beginning of problems.

Stuart and Killen are slated to close in June 2018, dealing a whooping blow to district finances.

"We'd be looking at perhaps as much as a $7 million dollar loss in revenue out of what was an $11 million dollar budget," Shreve said. "We'd simply be dead in the water. We couldn't operate with that small amount of revenue coming in."

With only 2,000 residents, Manchester's talk of the town has been the plant closing.

Denis Franer manages the First Stop on Route 52. His biggest fear, he said, is the unkown.

"People are looking for jobs elsewhere, maybe commuting to Cincinnati or elsewhere to find their work," Franer said. "They're concerned about their property values decreasing."

As some fear what's to come, Roberts plans to stay positive for her students.

"Whatever should happen, the kids are our focus here and that's what it's all about," Roberts said.