“Few and ugly.”
That’s how Tim Krugh, Lake school board president, describes the options open to the board and administration as they decide how to proceed in the wake of last week’s defeat of a 4.75-mill levy request.
Lake voters rejected the levy, which would have generated about $1.1 million annually for operations, by a 357-vote margin: 2,206 – against to 1,849 – for, according to unofficial results of the Wood County Board of Elections.
Voters rejected a request for the same millage amount in August by more than 600 votes.
“We are discouraged, disheartened, and even dismayed at the lack of gratitude and support from our voters,” Krugh said. “This is especially so after the outstanding, sacrifice, and success of our district’s leaders and employees in response to the June 5, 2010 disaster and the consistent academic achievements accomplished at a low cost.”
The board and administration will analyze the district’s financial condition, including a review of year-end data from the county auditor’s office, before making a decision early next year on how to proceed.
The choices the board faces, Krugh said, “all involve the layoff of employees, most of whom live in our community. But the majority of our voters have now said on two occasions that we must adopt these drastic options.”
Genoa voters say no to levy
By a 38-vote margin, voters in the Genoa district rejected a 1.6-mill continuing replacement levy that would have funded the purchase of computers, buses, building improvements, and other expenses with a useful life of five years or more.
School superintendent Dennis Mock said the ballot language, which indicated there would be an increase of 0.25 mill, may have confused voters.
While the issue would have replaced a 1.35-mill permanent improvement levy, the school board had filed a resolution with the Ottawa County auditor to discontinue collections on a 1.8-mill permanent improvement levy if the new levy passed.
The net result to owners of a home with a market value of $100,000 would be they’d pay about $49 a year – the same as the two other levies combined.
“The ballot didn’t say the cost to taxpayers would be the same,” Mock said.
The board will probably opt to place the 1.35-mill issue on the ballot next year and then try to replace the 1.8-mill issue when it expires with a 1.6-mill levy request, Mock said.
Replacement issues are levied on current property valuations but renewal levy millage is based on the valuations in place the year the issue is first approved.
Woodmore rejects new school
The Woodmore school board intends to again seek funding for a new elementary school building, said John Fernbaugh, district superintendent, but the board and administration will use the next several weeks to listen to residents for their ideas on how to proceed.
A meeting is scheduled for Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Woodmore Elementary School to seek the public’s input, he said.
For the second time, voters in the Woodmore district Tuesday rejected a proposal to construct a new elementary school with local and state funding.
Voters said no to a 6.95-mill bond levy to pay the local share of construction costs for a building that would house pre-kindergarten classes through the eighth grade; as well as a performing arts center and home economics classroom at the high school, and other improvements.
If passed, the bond issue would have generated approximately $19.5 million and have a repayment schedule of 37 years. District officials projected the total cost of the project to be approximately $26.5 million. The balance would have been paid by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
“We’re very disappointed,” Fernbaugh said. “We had people who worked very hard on this.”
Woodmore voters two years ago rejected a 6.97-mill, 37-year bond issue that would have raised funds for a new elementary that also was eligible for OSFC participation.
It’s possible the board may place a bond issue on the March 2012 ballot, Fernbaugh said.
B-C-S levy falls
Voters in the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District again rejected a request for operating millage Tuesday, saying no to a 3.9-mill issue: 2,341 – against to 2,035 – for, according to unofficial results of the Ottawa County Board of Elections.
That will likely trigger an austerity plan already approved by the school board to close Graytown and Carroll elementary schools.
The schools would be closed starting with the 2012-13 school year, reducing personnel by six teaching and 10 non-teaching positions.
Cuts to begin January, 2012 include implementing a pay-to-participate fee for athletics as well as a fee for using school facilities, a fee for “Biddy “ programs, and a transportation fee for field trips.
Voters also rejected a 3.9-mill levy in August.