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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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A public meeting to listen to the concerns of residents of the Woodmore School District will be held in the wake of last week’s loss of a levy renewal request.

Joe Liszak, president of the Woodmore school board, said Wednesday he’ll ask board members to schedule a regular meeting for an “evening with the board” to field questions from district residents about school finances, operations and other issues.

“We’ll simply listen to their questions on any topic they want to ask about,” he said. “It will be all public participation. We want to give them the opportunity to talk to this board.”

For the second time this year, voters on Tuesday rejected the renewal of a levy that generates $600,000 annually for district operations. In the Sandusky County portion of the school district it lost by 227 votes: 213 for to 440 against. In the Ottawa County portion, it fell by 54 votes: 243 for to 297 against. Results are unofficial.

The five-year levy expires at the end of the year.

The board has already started the process for placing the issue on the November ballot, Liszak said, but it needs to clarify the district’s financial situation for tax payers.

Earlier this year, the administration and board learned the Sandusky County Auditor’s office hadn’t adjusted the millage downward to reflect new property valuations in the district, resulting in an over-collection of property taxes.

Liszak said the board will have to explain more thoroughly to the public before the November election how the over-collection is being corrected.

“The public needs to know that was not the district’s fault,” he said. “Because we’ve had so many financial issues in the past, people assume it was our fault and it was not.”

And revenues from a proposed natural gas pipeline that will, if approved by federal regulators, cross through part of the district, won’t be collected for a few years, Liszak added.

Without renewal of the levy in November, the district is looking at negative cash flow next year, Cara Brown, who chair’s the board’s finance committee, said.

Brown and Liszak both said they feel the board has strived to be as transparent as possible about the district’s finances.

“I wasn’t surprised by the results of the election based on the feedback I was getting,” Brown said. “It means we’ll have to work harder. We’ve been open about every single dollar spent in this district. If it means holding more meetings or going door-to-door, I’m willing to do that.”


B-C-S levy falls
The administration and board in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District are also looking to November and another possible attempt to pass a bond issue for funding a new school building.

The deadline to file the needed resolutions for the November election is Aug. 10.

B-C-S voters rejected a 4.4-mill issue that would have generated about $43.6 million for the construction of a new K-7 building and improvements to the high school building.

According to unofficial results, 937 voters supported the issue while 1,438 were against it.

“I am respectful of yesterday's results, but the fact still remains today that B-C-S has a facilities need to be addressed to ensure that our students are in the safest and most innovative educational environments they deserve,” said Guy Parmigian, district superintendent, on Wednesday.

The proposal to build a new school was one of several options presented by a committee of residents and others for the board to consider.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff and community members who have helped, and given their time over the past seven months as part of the grass-roots effort for facilities planning,” Parmigian said. “I am also proud that we had a high turnout for the election, and that people had the opportunity to vote on an issue critical to the future of B-C-S students and community.”

 

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