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Published: Tuesday, 8/17/2004

Perrysburg will place school levy on fall ballot

The Perrysburg Board of Education yesterday voted to place a four-year incremental levy on the November ballot.

The vote was 4-1, with board member Walter Edinger voting against the proposed levy. He said the levy was too small to meet the district s needs.

The proposed levy would raise an increasing amount of money for the district each year. It would generate $3,963,823 in its first year, and then collect an additional $410,050 in each of the next three years.

Though the levy would collect more money every year, the school board passed a resolution stating that the rate of the levy would never go above 5.8 mills.

A 5.8-mill levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $78 a year in taxes.

The Wood County auditor estimates that if property values remained the same as they are now, the proposed levy would be 5.8 mills in its first year and go up annually by 0.6 mills, ending at 7.6 mills in its fourth year.

However, Superintendent Michael Cline said property values in the district are expected to increase, so the millage will likely go down instead of up over the next few years, possibly getting as low as 5 mills.

Mr. Cline said if the levy passes, residents would pay about the same taxes they pay now under the district s two-year, 5.9-mill emergency levy, which expires at the end of the year.

Mr. Edinger said the board was making a mistake by not requesting a larger levy in November because it feared a higher levy would not pass.

I am taking the unpopular position that the levy should be higher not substantially higher, but more than 5.8 mills, he said.

In addition to approving the levy, the school board adopted the final draft of a new five-year strategic plan for the district.

The plan calls for the district to spend an extra $650,000 annually from the general fund and $790,000 annually from the permanent improvement fund. Most of the additional spending would pay for staff development, upgrading outdoor facilities, hiring more teachers to hold class sizes down, providing more buses to handle increasing enrollment, and improving the use of technology in the district.

The strategic plan is based on the recommendations of six volunteer committees of staff members and residents. About half the committee members were employees of the district, school officials said.

Gary Hutchison, a resident and former board member who has frequently criticized school officials, was the only audience member who spoke about the proposed levy or strategic plan. He said the strategic plan s committees included many district employees and their spouses, so they did not make objective recommendations.

The committees recommended spending more tax dollars, hiring more teachers, and having no accountability, he said. This is not in the best interests of our school district.



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