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Published: Thursday, 4/28/2005

2 school districts go to voters for tax levies

Two school districts in Sandusky County will try to persuade voters Tuesday to approve tax levies that allow them to keep doing business as usual.

In November, voters in the Clyde-Green Springs Exempted Village school district rejected a 5.9-mill emergency levy. The district will try again next week with exactly the same amount.

If it passes, the tax would generate $1.2 million a year for the district. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $181 a year.

"We lost by maybe a couple of hundred votes," said district Treasurer Alan Binger. "We had the most yes votes we'd had in the history of the school system; we also had the most no votes."

But he was philosophical about the loss. "It was the first time out and I don't know that we've ever passed anything on the first time out," he said.

Also Tuesday, Bellevue City Schools will seek a renewal of a 2-mill levy for permanent improvements and a replacement 1-mill levy for operations. Both would run for five years.

Clyde-Green Springs had not planned to ask voters for more money until 2007, Mr. Binger said. But cuts in state funding, as with many school districts in Ohio, necessitated the levy request.

"This new [state] budget really has us concerned," he said.

Gov. Bob Taft's proposed two-year budget calls for school funding to increase 2.1 percent for 2005-06 to $6.9 billion and by 2.8 percent in 2006-07 to $7.1 billion.

However, the Ohio House has passed a version of the budget with smaller increases.

In addition, the House has approved tax-code changes proposed by Mr. Taft that would phase out the tangible personal property tax. That could hurt districts such as Clyde-Green Springs, which has a Whirlpool clothes washer plant and other industrial employers as major taxpayers.

The Clyde-Green Springs district has about 2,300 students in its five schools. Its annual budget is $16.4 million.

Mr. Binger said registered voters can expect plenty of information in the coming days.

"We have an active campaign committee," he said. "The last couple of weeks, we'll be doing a lot of phone calls, some letter writing campaigns, mailings to our parents. We have place mats at local restaurants, and information sheets taped to pizza boxes. They've really done a lot."

In other Sandusky County issues:

●The city of Clyde will ask voters to change the city charter to remove the stipulation that a person can serve only three consecutive terms on any board of commission.

●The village of Burgoon will seek a replacement 8-mill levy for current expenses.

●Woodville Township will ask voters to approve an additional 3-mill, 5-year levy for fire protection.

●The city of Bellevue will seek a continuance of a 0.5 percent income tax, maintaining the municipal income tax at 1.5 percent for five years.



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