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Published: Tuesday, 2/16/2010

Woodmore schools board: replacement levy to be less than current one

BLADE STAFF

WOODVILLE - The Woodmore Local Board of Education last week took the first step in placing a 5-year emergency levy on the May 4 primary ballot.

The levy would replace a 4-mill operating levy that expires this year, Kevin Slates, Woodmore treasurer, said.

The school board's action expresses intent to put before voters a measure to raise $450,000 a year. The millage was to be calculated by the Sandusky County Auditor, but was not yet available by deadline.

Mr. Slates said the amount will be less than the current 4-mill levy.

"[The emergency levy] replaces what expires, but at a lower burden to the taxpayer," Mr. Slates said.

The district can't rely on added help from the state, "so we have to have the money, so we're not cutting and cutting and cutting," Jane Garling, superintendent of schools, said. "We have to do something."

The district's five-year forecast, calculated last fall, projects that if the existing levy expired and Woodmore Local Schools had no new income sources, the district's deficit would be just under $1 million in 2013, Mr. Slates said.

"We're definitely not in a great spot. I don't think there's a school district out there that is," he said. "But we're trying to find creative ways to stay even keel - or get more with a lesser burden to the taxpayer."

If passed, the emergency levy "will help our five-year forecast," Mr. Slates said.

The board also learned that Mrs. Garling, 68, will retire June 30 as superintendent.

"I want to spend some time with my family," Mrs. Garling said. "Too many birthdays are catching up with me."

She said she wanted to give the school enough notice to advertise the position. "I'm sure it will draw a lot of applicants," she said. "It's a wonderful school district."

This will be her second, maybe third, effort to leave the workaday world. She retired as superintendent of the Bettsville Local Schools in Seneca County in the early 2000s, but returned immediately and stayed about two more years, she said.

She had part-time posts running migrant and gifted programs for the Genoa Area Local and Woodmore districts.

In her career as an educator, she worked in the Eastwood Local district about five years. Otherwise, she was at Woodmore - as a teacher, athletic director, principal of the high school in Elmore, and principal of the elementary school in Woodville. She also lives in Woodville and served on village council.

The school board called on her in July, 2006, because she is familiar with the district, to be interim superintendent until the board decided on someone permanent.

That someone turned out to be Mrs. Garling. She became the district's full-time superintendent Jan. 1, 2007.

"I was only going to help out for a little bit, and they talked me into - well, this is my fourth year," she said.

She plans to remain involved in Woodmore's strategic plan, but to make retirement stick this time.

"I'm of an age that I deserve it," she said.



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