Four school districts seek levies


Four local school districts have placed tax issues on ballot for the Aug. 6 special election in Clark and Champaign counties.

Clark-Shawnee, Tecumseh, Northeastern and West Liberty-Salem local school districts will ask voters to approve issues.

Clark-Shawnee

Clark-Shawnee has placed a 10-year, 7.95-mill levy back on the ballot in August after it failed earlier this month. The property tax would generate more than $2.49 million per year and is to avoid a deficit.

It will cost owner of a $100,000 home about $232 per year.

The district has approved cutting six faculty positions and 1.5 administrative positions. The district also will establish pay to participate for sports and extracurriculars, raise student fees, cut building budgets, eliminate one transportation route, increase class sizes and eliminate some class offerings.

If the levy passes on Aug. 6, the district will re-evaluate the cuts, possibly reversing most of them, including hiring back some of the eliminated positions.

“We understand that this is an economic issue in difficult times,” Superintendent Gregg Morris said. “We can’t continue to grow and improve if classes continue to get large and we have to cut classes.”

Tecumseh

A state takeover is looming after Tecumseh voters rejected a 12.37-mill levy earlier this month.

The district will again put the 12.37-mill property tax on the Aug. 6 ballot. The five-year property tax will generate $3.5 million annually for the district.

It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $378 a year.

If the state takes over the district, it will loan Tecumseh money to stay afloat but any programs that exist above the state minimum standard could be cut. If that occurs, the district would need a larger levy later on to cover the cost of the state loan, as well as operating costs for the district.

Passage of the levy would prevent a state takeover, Superintendent Brad Martin said, as well as restore high school busing and reverse an increase in latchkey costs.

“We are out of cuts,” he said. “We need the support of the community so that that the kids still have their opportunities.”

Northeastern

Northeastern is asking for a 1 percent earned income tax on currently employed residents of the district. It would generate about $4 million annually for the district.

It faces cuts in a number of positions and to high school busing if an income tax levy isn’t approved during the special election in August.

The district hasn’t passed an operating levy since 1998, and since 2010 has seen reductions of about $2.4 million in state and local revenue. In the past 13 months the district has eliminated 37 positions and cut $1.8 million from its budget. This spring the district also introduced pay to play for sports.

“A lot of districts are in the same situation, hence (that’s) why a lot of them are on the ballot,” Superintendent Lou Kramer said. “We are doing everything we can to be good stewards of community tax dollars.”

West Liberty-Salem

West Liberty-Salem is seeking a combination income tax and bond levy on the August ballot.

The combination levy includes a 0.25 percent income tax on residents for 23 years and a 27-year, 3.62-mill bond levy. The property tax will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $231 a year.

The request will raise money for an Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project to renovate and add on to its school buildings.

About 29 percent of the cost is paid for locally, with the remaining 71 percent covered by the state. The combination levy will raise a total of $11 million to pay for that local share.

The district wants to renovate its current facilities, as well as bring certain areas, technology support and classroom size up to state standards. It also wants to add 28,000 square feet to the school to replace modular units, and add more safety and security measures to the school.

“It’s an important opportunity for our community to reinvest in the district that has given their children great educational opportunities,” Superintendent Kraig Hissong said.


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