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Published: Wednesday, 1/12/2005

Springfield Local: Rally planned to promote levy

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Springfield Local Schools officials are eager to get out their message that the district needs a proposed 8.9-mill levy that is on the Feb. 8 special election ballot.

They've scheduled a rally for it on Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the El Matador Restaurant on Airport Highway.

Superintendent Cynthia Beekley said the 8.9-mill levy is meant to take the place of two expiring levies that contribute $5.4 million annually to the district. Together, they make up about 19 percent of the district's total budget.

Robert Moellenberg, treasurer of the school system, said the new tax, if passed, will raise about $6.5 million annually.

Property owners of a house valued at $100,000 pay a total of $219.52 on the two expiring levies. If the replacement levy is passed, they will pay $272.56 annually.

The Lucas County Board of Elections estimated that the special election will cost the school district just under $13,800.

Mr. Moellenberg said he is not aware of any organized opposition to the levy but acknowledged that some people have objected to its being put on the ballot as a continuing levy.

The treasurer said those people want a time limit on the money issues, but he said it makes school funding too unstable for it to "be a jump ball every five years.''The two levies set to expire were given time limits, because there was a thought that the state might come up with a new method of funding education. That doesn't appear likely now, Mr. Moellenberg said.

If they should expire without another source of the revenue, the district would have to practically be reformed, Mrs. Beekley said.Preliminary cuts to make up the shortfall would include extracurricular activities, transportation, nurses, teachers, support personnel - "nearly everything, and we still wouldn't make up the difference."

The increase wouldn't be great, but a defeat and the loss of existing revenue would be crippling, Mr. Moellenberg said.

Contact Mike Jones at:

mjones@theblade.com

or 419-724-6096



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