A financially struggling school district in Ohio is planning to raise funds by selling timber harvesting rights to some of the trees in a forest on its school campus.
The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports that the Newton Falls Exempted School District is scheduled to accept timber harvesting bids next month on 42 acres of forest the district owns.
School Superintendent Paul Woodard says the district was approached earlier this year by a local logging company interested in harvesting the trees for different types of lumber, so the board looked into the request.
“We weren’t familiar with this so we looked into it, and since we are hurting financially, we felt this will help generate more money for the district’s general fund,” Woodard says.
At a July 3 auction, interested vendors will be asked to outline plans of their harvest, size of tree to be taken, method of payment and how the ground will be restored from hauling of trees.
School Treasurer Jonathan Pusateri says selective harvesting is when only trees of a certain diameter and harvest are taken.
‘“They will only take a certain amount of trees," Pusateri says. "With the estimates we have seen, we have to take a look at this type of project because of the financial state we are in."
The district is about 25 miles northwest of Youngstown.
After a selection is recommended and the school board approves, the harvesting will be done in late July or early August, the district says.
Various types of trees, such as walnut, beech and oak, are found on the southeastern section of the district's property east of the football stadium and middle school.
Newton Falls officially already have slashed spending to address declining enrollment and state aid. The district has recently cut 15 staff and closed the elementary school as cost-saving measures.
Woodard says the district will save between $350,000 and $450,000 with the cuts and closing of the elementary school. The district has seen enrollment drop by 610 students between 1990 and 2017, which translates to a loss of $3.66 million in state funding.