Written by Cynthia L. Jacoby
February 19, 2010
Woodmore school officials are banking on a spring levy to wipe away the winter blues.
The Woodmore Board of Education Tuesday agreed to put a 2.99-mill emergency levy before voters May 4, schools treasurer Kevin Slates said.
The emergency levy would cover the cost of utilities, salaries, benefits and other expenses.
The decision was hard for school officials but necessary, they say.
The district, which spans portions of Ottawa and Sandusky counties, would receive about $450,000 annually over the next five years, beginning in January 2011 if voters approve the levy.
Part of the budget strain is related to the State of Ohio’s 2005 decision to phase out the tangible personal property tax, a tax businesses pay on equipment and inventory. Woodmore has lost $1.2 million of the tax revenue since 2006, according to district figures.
The cost to run the school district was $8.8 million in 2009 while the budget for this year is approximately $9 million.
Before finalizing the budget, school officials undertook a number of cost-cutting measures, including cutting hours, taking a hard look at the heating and cooling systems as well as not replacing several people following retirements.
And negotiations with both the certified and non-certified staff were recently resolved, with both entities agreeing to pay freezes for the year 2010, Slates said.
“We did the trimming last summer,” Slates said. “Any cuts from this point on will definitely affect the programs and the students.”
The board of education is making the levy bid following an unsuccessful November bond issue that would have funded a new school building for grades kindergarten through eighth. That building would have replaced the Woodmore Elementary School in Woodville.
Three months prior, however, voters OK’d a 5.9-mill emergency operating levy.
The 2.99 levy would replace a 4-mill expiring levy that falls off the books this year.
Ottawa County Auditor Jodi Regal said she hadn’t received the official paperwork from the Woodmore board as of early Wednesday afternoon and was unable to comment on the specific collection amount for area homeowners.
According to Slates, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay $91.57 per year for the new levy. The old levy it would replace currently brings $119.13, amounting to a savings of $28.
Superintendent Jane Garling could not be reached for comment on the levy.
Garling, who has overseen the district for four years, also recently turned in her retirement papers. She will leave June 30.