Levies are never an easy sell for school districts, but they have become a necessary evil for superintendents forced to cover for shortfalls left behind after funding cuts from the state.
The requests by Anthony Wayne, Perrysburg, and Sylvania schools are necessary to keep the districts moving and should be approved. A request by Rossford Schools, while rooted in genuine need, is difficult to support.
Anthony Wayne Local Schools: The district is urging passage of Issue 14, a 2.38-mill bond issue that would fund the replacement of the 84-year-old Whitehouse Primary School. Approval would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $84 a year.
Besides replacing the primary school, the issue would improve safety and security in all schools and allow for the building of an auxiliary gym at the high school.
The Blade recommends a vote FOR ISSUE 14.
Perrysburg Schools: Superintendent Tom Hosler has been pushing the need for the community to back a 16-mill levy.
The levy adds no costs to residents, but it would make permanent the tax, which funds 27 percent of the district’s annual revenue, rather than the district being forced to pitch a renewal every four years. Passage would also secure an annual payment of $1.2 million to the district from the state. That money could be lost and later passed on to taxpayers if the proposal fails.
Perrysburg is one of the country’s few Blue Ribbon schools and has earned the right to be supported. The alternative is the loss of dozens of teachers and larger classes.
The Blade recommends a vote FOR PERRYSBURG SCHOOLS.
Sylvania Schools: The district is seeking an infusion of $7.8 million a year for operational and building improvements. If the voters reject Issue 17, as many as 40 teachers and 10 staff positions could be eliminated. Curriculum would be affected, transportation cut, and extracurricular costs increased.
A homeowner would pay $200 more a year — or a little over $16 a month — for every $100,000 in property value. That’s not chump change and may look like overreach by the schools to many Sylvania residents. But the district has been generally conscientious with the public’s money.
The Blade recommends a vote FOR ISSUE 17.
Rossford Schools: The district is seeking to undertake an ambitious building and renovation project that would create a campus for kindergarten through fifth grade and another campus for 6-12.
There is a legitimate argument for the 11.4-mill levy, which would raise $71.25 million. Rossford’s buildings are old and energy inefficient. The students deserve better, and new construction would allow the district to better compete with nearby districts when it comes to drawing new families into the area.
But the request comes with a staggering price tag. The owner of a $100,000 home in Rossford would see his tax bill rise $399 a year, or about $33 a month. That is significant for most middle and working class families.
There is also the question of whether it makes sense to seek all of the money at once. Superintendent Dan Creps has argued that construction costs will never be lower than they are now, but the city will eventually be seeing an explosive growth in capital projects, particularly with developer NAI Harmon’s plans for an entertainment district and business park. Taxes from these projects might be able to shoulder some of the district’s plans in the future.
It is not acceptable to continue to subject students to subpar learning conditions, but it would seem prudent to break the project into pieces so that it is not such a burden on taxpayers.
The Blade recommends a vote of NO on ROSSFORD SCHOOLS.
These are tough decisions for voters. They would be easier to make if voters believed their leaders and school administrators pinched every penny and really felt the northwest Ohio working man’s pain.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.