Local schools seek levy renewals

As the economy continues to sputter, school officials have been reluctant to ask voters for more.
Annie Zelm
Nov 4, 2011


As the economy continues to sputter, school officials have been reluctant to ask voters for more.

Districts across the region are seeking renewals rather than additional levies, rolling out renovations instead of ambitious building projects.

Of the four local school districts with levies on the ballot this November, two are asking for renewals instead of trying for new tax dollars.

Vermilion Local Schools, which is trying for a $33 million, 37-year bond issue to fund major renovations to the high school and middle school, scrapped its initial plans to build new after parents and residents decided they needed to be more realistic.

The group of community members tasked with recommending a building plan realized that building all new facilities on one campus would cost as much as $80 million.

“It’s obviously much cheaper to rehab everything than build new,” Vermilion superintendent Phil Pempin said. “For the renovation, we’re looking at about $100 per square foot, as opposed to $230 per square foot.”

Clyde-Green Springs Schools is also asking for new money, although day-to-day operations are at stake, not facilities.

The district is already funding renovations with a 1 percent income tax but expects to have lost about $1.35 million in revenue by the start of the 2012 school year because of changes to tax law and state cuts.

It’s the district’s third attempt to ask voters for a 4.9-mill, three-year additional levy expected to raise about $1.08 million per year — not enough to cover the expected losses, but enough to get by for now, superintendent Gregg Elchert said.

“We needed to be fair to our public and say, ‘We’re only going to ask for just enough,’” he said. “We’re trying to bridge the gap during this bad economy.”

Elchert said his school district has cut about $1.6 million over the past three years with wage freezes for both teachers and administrations and requiring staff to pick up a larger portion of their insurance costs.

The board already eliminated all high school busing, field trips and elementary music performances. If voters approve the levy, the board has already agreed to reinstate those programs.

“The question is, ‘Should the students in school today have the same opportunities, the same programs and same services as our recent graduates?’” he asked.

Two other districts are opting for renewals after hearing parents and residents say they just don’t have much to offer right now.

Norwalk voters in November will decide on a 3-mill, five-year renewal levy that can be used only for permanent improvements. That levy has helped the district maintain its buildings for decades — including the almost 100-year-old League Elementary School, officials said.

Administrators had proposed an additional emergency levy, but board members decided they might have a better chance of drumming up support for it in May.

Plymouth-Shiloh Local Schools hasn’t had new taxes since 1999, superintendent Jim Metcalf said. It’s asking to maintain the income it receives by approving a 4.6-mill renewal levy to fund operating costs, including salaries and utility expenses.

“If we don’t pass it, we would be hurting,” Metcalf said. “Pulling $325,000 out of our roughly $8 million budget ... that could be seven teachers. You would devastate the academic program at school.”

ISSUE: A 4.9-mill, three-year additional levy for emergency requirements, which means it will cover day-to-day operating costs including salaries and benefits, utilities, and bus fuel
TO RAISE: $1.08 million per year
LENGTH: Three years
COST: The owner of a $100,000 home will pay an extra $154 per year, according to the Sandusky County auditor’s office.

ISSUE: 3-mill renewal levy to fund renovation, remodeling and furnishing.
TO RAISE: About $429,000 per year.
LENGTH: Five years
COST: The owner of a $100,000 home currently pays $33.39 per year and will pay no new taxes.

ISSUE: 4.6-mill renewal levy to avoid deficit and pay operating expenses, including salaries, utilities and bus fuel.
TO RAISE: $325,000
LENGTH: Five years
COST: The owner of a $100,000 home currently pays $140.88 per year and will pay no new taxes.

ISSUE: A bond issue to fund renovations of Vermilion High School and Sailorway Middle School, as well as to construct a new elementary school addition. Collection on the bond issue averages 3.98 mills.
TO RAISE: $33 million
LENGTH: 37 years
COST: About $123 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home. Seniors qualify for the Homestead Exemption, which lowers their taxes on the issue.



 Good luck with ALL that  ^^



SEE, this is a GOOD reason to vote YES on 2 and NO on issue 3





hopefully EVERYONE who plans on voting no on issue 2 will vote yes for these school levies.  after all they believe that all gov't should have open checkbooks and worry about paying for it later.


Tax payers should not be punished for school districts fiscal mismanagement.  Guard your paycheck and your home from these greedy thieves in Clyde-Green Springs school district.  4.9 mills for 3 years will force many of us financial hardships while the administrators and teaching staff kick back in their summer lake homes after a taxing 9 month job.  GET REAL people - VOTE NO ON NEW MONEY LEVIES and suffering at the hands of these villains.


Bleeding Turnips

 If SB5 is repealed you'll see levies at every school every year. 


Re: headhunter106

You are correct! It is very nice to have the entire summer off kicking back at my summer lake home and my nice pay check every other week. Thanks for paying your taxes. I appreciate it. From your wallet to my checking account.

El Guapo

Why do you republicans keep repeating the same lies over and over and over thinking that people will believe them.   Local governments will be forced to levies all over the state, not due to Police, FIre Fighters, Nurses, Teachers etc., but due to this man:  COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Local governments and schools districts are hit hard, facing nearly $2 billion less in total payments from the state in 2012 and 2013 under Gov. John Kasich's budget proposal, according to details released shortly after noon.

Are you so dense that you can not read and see with your own eyes that Kasich has made extreme cuts to money flowing to local governments, schools etc.. READ FOR YOURSELF: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/03/schools_local_governments_take.html

Public workers can not be blamed for this, Cops, FIrefighters etc. didnt suddenly get $2 billion in raises, that can be verified as well.     Now the usual right wing drivel to spew from republicans mouths after this statement is that "but the state is in 8 billion of debt.  So if we are in debt that much, why cut estate tax to lower revenue to the state and local governments, why give money to already rich and well off company DIebold, tax breaks for corperations/compainies htttp://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/06/16/kasich-tax.html, Kasich also said he's looking at a lower capital gains tax rate to keep wealthy investors from fleeing.   

All of Kasich's plans will lower revenue from the state and local governments,  All of Kasich's plans will benefit the already wealthy and force the working class and poor to make up the difference in lost revenue.  

Well I guess you are right  ONE PUBLIC WORKER is to blame for all this mess, GOV KASICH. 


VOTE No on ISSUE 2.    Immediately after that passes, begin efforts to Repeal Kasich.  The Ohio working class can not survive his failed policy of trickle down economics.   All benefit from demand side economics.   

nosey rosey

SB5 will have no bearing in levies in the Clyde school district because they have one on the ballot every November and March and July and.........  They seem to think that they are located in Ottawa Hills or some other affluent location!  Since they've been told no 3 times already, be ready to vote again in March when they are handily defeated again tomorrow.