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Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

Springfield places levy back on ballot

Voters in the Springfield Local School District, who apparently defeated a levy request May 2 by an eight-vote margin, will face the same issue on the ballot during a special election Aug. 8.

The Springfield Board of Education last night agreed to place the 3.5-mill operating levy back before voters.

Unofficial returns showed the levy may have won by 16 votes. But when the official count was conducted, the tally shifted, resulting in a vote of 2,803 for the levy and 2,811 against.

An automatic recount will be conducted at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jill Kelly, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said yesterday.

Today is the filing deadline for the August election.

Unless the levy is approved, the school is facing a shortfall that could trigger deep budget cuts, including the elimination of all extracurricular activities such as sports and band, school officials said.

The board set a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. June 5 to discuss budget issues related to the defeat of the levy earlier this month. Summer programs, such as Safety City, pose immediate concerns. The board did agree last night to continue its summer reading program for students in kindergarten through seventh grade.

If approved, the continuing levy would bring in about $2.5 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000, owner-occupied home $107 a year in taxes.

In other action, the board approved revisions to its dress code that include a ban on hooded sweatshirts and tops as well as clothing with any writing, pictures, or embellishments. Logos no bigger than a quarter would be permitted.

In addition, the code requires that pants, shorts, capris, and skirts be a plain, solid color. Shirts and tops can be solid, striped, plaid, or print but must have sleeves. Blue jeans, clean and in good condition, and school spirit gear can be worn.

Elementary students could continue to wear clothing with prints or embellishments and can wear sweat pants.

Revisions were suggested by a committee of students, parents, teachers, and administrators that began to review the dress code in January. The committee was formed in part because of safety concerns as well as a concern for maintaining a positive climate in school during the school day, according to Superintendent Cynthia Beekley.

In the last year, more and more students have come to school with electronic devices, ranging from iPods to cell phones. Some concerns have been raised about what sort of information students pass along when they use cell phones during the school day.

Board members last night approved a policy that requires students to turn off cell phones and electronic devices during the school day, and keep them off until 15 minutes after classes end. The items cannot be carried in purses or bookbags; rather, the items must be kept in lockers during the school day.

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