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Published: Tuesday, 8/10/2004

TPS votes to put levy on ballot in the fall

The Toledo Board of Education voted unanimously yesterday to ask voters in November to approve the renewal of a $15.7 million operating levy that expires in December.

"The district is going to be very responsible financially," board President David Welch said.

He declined to discuss yesterday what the ramifications would be if the 6.5-mill operating levy fails. The district's $344 million budget was approved in June with the expected revenue from that tax included.

Superintendent Eugene Sanders did not attend the morning meeting. District spokesman Jane Bruss said he was in Washington interviewing for the superintendent's job there.

Mr. Welch said if Mr. Sanders is selected for the Washinton job, Sheila Austin, the district's chief of staff would serve as interim superintendent while the district conducted a national search for Mr. Sanders' permanent replacement.

The proposed levy will be taxed at 5 mills, and Mr. Welch stressed that property owners would not pay more than their current amount. The owner of a home valued at $75,000 pays $114 a year for the tax, said Thomas Nichter, chief deputy in the Lucas County Auditor's Office.

The current levy can't be replaced, which would allow for collection at current property values, because it is for a fixed dollar amount and not millage.

"This is an emergency renewal," Mr. Nichter said. "It's supposed to produce a certain amount of money, so the auditor will put on a millage based on a valuation that would produce $15.7 million."

Flute Rice, president of the Urban Coalition, a local watchdog group that has opposed Toledo Public School levies, said the organization has not decided if it will campaign against the renewal.

"I haven't the slightest idea," Mr. Rice said after the board meeting.

In other business, the board unanimously approved eight contracts for the Ohio School Facilities Commission contracts.

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