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3 Clark school issues fail, 1 approved

Springfield passes, but Tecumseh and Greenon fall again.


Voters rejected Tecumseh, Clark-Shawnee and Greenon school issues but approved Springfield’s request in Tuesday’s primary election.

Tecumseh Local Schools lost its ninth straight request for new operating money. The 12.37-mill levy would have raised $3.5 million per year for the district.

The school board already approved placing the same levy on the August ballot.

“We’re very disappointed, but we knew we had to put it back on in August,” said Tecumseh superintendent Brad Martin. “Our district wants local control.”

Without the levy, the school district faces a $1.6 million deficit for the 2013-2014 school year and a possible state takeover. They’ve made about $7 million in budget cuts since 2004.

Clark-Shawnee’s issue — a 10-year, 7.59-mill levy to raise $2.5 million per year — is likely headed for a recount after being initially rejected by eight votes.

State law prohibits local boards of election from counting provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots until 10 days after the election. The time allows provisional voters to provide missing information or absentee voters to correct mistakes made on the identification envelope.

If those votes add up to the issue being rejected by less than one-half of one-percent, an automatic recount will take place, according to Clark County Board of Elections Director Matthew Tlachac. He said there about 70 provisional ballots and 28 absentee ballots for the entire county.

Clark-Shawnee Superintendent Gregg Morris said the schools had a lot of wonderful volunteers who did a great job getting information to the public.

“We knew the hill was steep,” Morris said “These aren’t just tough economic times for schools, they’re difficult economic times for our residents and families.”

The district has cut $3.2 million in the last two years. In case the levy failed, Shawnee had already discussed plans for another levy in August.

“We can’t cut our way out of this situation,” Morris said.

Greenon Local Schools voters overwhelmingly rejected a 4.95-mill bond and a five-year, 0.5 percent income tax for new schools buildings through a partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee.

The 38-year bond issue would have generated $26 million to help pay for the district’s share of a new 7th through 12th grade school. The issue would have guaranteed at least $13.3 million in state funding.

“There are so many people in the community who want to have up-to-date school buildings,” said Greenon Superintendent Dan Bennett. “I am deeply appreciative to them for all of their work and support, particularly to the campaign volunteers, who did so much to help educate our voters on the district’s facility needs.”

The school will focus its efforts on what it needs to do moving forward.

“The money from the state was guaranteed until July,” Bennett said. “Even though the voters said, ‘no,’ our need doesn’t change. This ballot issue was never about whether or not to fix our deteriorating facilities. These repairs must be made.”

Springfield voters approved a 2.2-mill bond issue to be used for maintenance and improvements. The district will allow a 2.43-mill levy to expire, meaning no increased taxes.

The bond issue will generate $14 million over 12 years.

“We’re extremely gratified and appreciative of the community and their support and their faith in us,” said Ed Leventhal, board president and chair of the Committee for Quality Education. “We think this is a great statement and puts us in very good shape going forward.”

Leventhal said the board Thursday will approve bids for improvements to elementary school parking lots and traffic flow for safety.

• Urbana City Schools passed its renewal of a five-year, 9.75-mill operating levy. The levy was also approved in 2008.

• The West Liberty-Salem School District had also asked voters to renew a one percent income tax for current expenses. That issue was easily approved by voters in both Champaign and Logan counties.


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