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Published: Tuesday, 2/6/2007

Rossford voters reject both school levies

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Rossford school district officials faced a double disappointment after seeing that voters, according to final unofficial results, rejected both levies placed on today s special election ballot.

Both were five-year, 7.9-mill operating levies.

One was defeated 1,138 to 921; the other 1,168 to 887.

Well, I m obviously disappointed, Superintendent Luci Gernot said. We re going to have to take a real good look at this precinct by precinct.

Wood County was the only place in northwest Ohio with polls open for February s special election, and the Rossford Exempted Village School District took up the entire ballot with two issues.

The Rossford school board asked voters to replace the two identical levies which make up 30 percent of the district s operating budget, or just more than $6 million.

The majority of the funding raised by the levies pays for personnel salaries and benefits. The rest of the money pays for miscellaneous operating costs, including utilities, transportation, technology, and textbooks, Mrs. Gernot said.

Both levies, which expire at the end of the year, have current effective rates of 6.65 mills because of property revaluations.

Together, the levies cost the owner of a $100,000 home just under $400 a year. If they were replaced, that homeowner would have paid an extra $82 in taxes.

But because neither levy was approved, Mrs. Gernot said the district will have to come up with a game plan for the future, which includes carefully evaluating upcoming expenses for the 2007-08 school year.

District officials have said that if neither levy is approved this year, they d be forced to cut up to $6 million from the budget.

We need to have it back on the ballot, but I don t know when exactly that will be, Mrs. Gernot said. That s the board s decision.

School board members already have scheduled a goal-setting workshop for 4 p.m. Monday at the district s board offices, 601 Superior St., but the superintendent said they ll most likely discuss the levy results before talking about upcoming goals.

If the board wants the levies to appear on the May primary ballot, members have until Feb. 22 to make that decision, according to deadlines set by the elections board.

We need some time to discuss, and we don t have a lot of time before the next deadline. So we will be entering into discussion very soon, I m sure, Mrs. Gernot said.

The voter turnout at today s election was just under 20 percent, which is typical for a special election, Wood County Elections Director Debbie Hazard said.

Because Rossford had the only two issues on the ballot, the school district will be billed for the cost of computer support, poll workers to staff the precincts, and legal advertising.

Ms. Hazard estimated the cost of the special election likely would be in excess of $8,500.

Contact Erika Ray at:

eray@theblade.com

or 419-724-6088.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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