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Published: Thursday, 10/20/2005

3 board candidates unite on school levy

Three candidates for the Toledo Board of Education took a stand yesterday against their three challengers and asked the public to support the district's 2.5-mill levy renewal request on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Incumbent Steven Thomas, along with Jim Whiteman and Steven Steel, met with reporters to announce their support for one another and the levy.

A proposal to use some of the nearly $24.4 million generated by the tax over five years for the district's new building program fueled criticism from the three other candidates: Christopher Myers, Darlene Fisher, and Robert Torres, who are campaigning under the slogan "3 for change."

They have said they would not support the levy unless all the money generated is spent on existing school buildings and not used to build new ones.

Mr. Steel said Mr. Myers, Mr. Torres, and Ms. Fisher are using the tax measure as a "political football."

"It shouldn't be about which way the political winds are blowing, it should be about what is good for our kids," Mr. Steel said. "The three of us stand for continuous progress, and it is important to have steady leadership."

School leaders are to release data tomorrow on exactly how the tax money would be spent.

The 2.5-mill levy, which has helped fund the school system for 20 years, costs the owner of a $100,000 home $38 a year and pays for building upkeep, general permanent improvements, some renovations, furniture, and computer software.

The tax, which will appear as Issue 37 on the ballot, also would pay for 200 security cameras at the elementary schools and any unforeseeable incidents, such as floods or roof leaks.

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