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Published: Friday, 9/19/2008

Toledo Public Schools kicks off levy campaign

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

John Foley, superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, kicks off the district's levy campaign during a rally at Waite High's Jack Mollenkopf Stadium. Hundreds of parents, students, staff, and community members attended yesterday's rally to gain support for the two TPS funding issues on the November ballot. 
John Foley, superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, kicks off the district's levy campaign during a rally at Waite High's Jack Mollenkopf Stadium. Hundreds of parents, students, staff, and community members attended yesterday's rally to gain support for the two TPS funding issues on the November ballot.
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With spirit comparable to the young, energetic cheerleaders, Toledo Public Schools Superintendent John Foley blew his whistle, twirled his baton, and marched with a large, black-feathered Busby hat to rally community support for his schools.

He was a cheerleader at the last levy kickoff and couldn t do that again.

So being a drum major made sense, with the district s cheerleaders on the field with him and the Waite High School band in the stands.

It was really great to have all those kids here and to see their excitement and to be their leader as a drum major and as their superintendent, Mr. Foley said.

The rally yesterday at Waite s Jack Mollenkopf Stadium drew hundreds of parents, students, staff, and community members to drum up support for the two TPS issues on the Nov. 4 ballot a $15.7 million levy renewal and $37 million bond issue.

There s lots of things I ll do for this district, obviously, Mr. Foley told the crowd. And I do it all for the kids of this district.

The 10-year, 4.8-mill operating levy renewal, if approved, would generate nearly $16 million a year to pay for staff, textbooks, utilities, and other day-to-day expenses.

The bond issue, to finance the $37 million in bonds, would be used mostly for renovations of buildings not awarded state money in the district s new building campaign. Voters would be taxed an average of 0.7 mills over 28 years.

The requests would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $147 annually for the operating levy and an average of $22 a year for the bond issue.

The district stressed neither will increase taxes since the levy is a renewal and the bond issue is a reauthorization of what voters passed in 2002 to fund the local share of the Building for Success campaign.

What I m hoping is people will see this is something already in their budget, like this is something already in ours, Steven Steel of the Toledo Board of Education said. I m very confident we have very intelligent voters in this community who will come in knowing what they are voting for.

The levy has been on the books since 1991 and is essential to the operations of the district, Mr. Steel said, and the bond issue will help finish the job of updating all of the district s schools.

The $37 million represents the difference between bonds needed for the local share of the original $800 million project $183 million and what was issued for the scaled down, $640 million project $146 million.

Cheerleaders perform at the kickoff of the TPS levy campaign at Waite. A levy renewal and bond issue are on the ballot.
Cheerleaders perform at the kickoff of the TPS levy campaign at Waite. A levy renewal and bond issue are on the ballot.
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The Ohio School Facilities Commission pays 77 percent and the remaining 23 percent is locally funded.

The $37 million will be used to renovate Waite and Scott high schools; the former DeVilbiss High School, which houses Toledo Technology Academy; the Old West End Academy, and Crossgates, Edgewater, Glendale-Feilbach, and Harvard elementary schools.

A.J. Wilk, 18, a senior at Waite, urged voters to approve the bond issue to update his school and others in the district for what it would cost to buy a bottle of pop a month.

We love Waite High School, but there are still some improvements to be made, he said.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:mgilbert@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.

Lucas County voters will see a number of school levy requests on the November ballot, including:

• ISSUE 26 Anthony Wayne Local School District: a 0.5 percent income tax over five years for operating expenses.

• ISSUE 27 Evergreen Local School District: a 0.75 percent income tax over five years for operating expenses.

• ISSUE 28 Maumee City School District: a new 5.9-mill continuing levy for operating expenses.

• ISSUE 29 Ottawa Hills Local School District: a 1.5-mill, four-year replacement levy for facilities and capital improvements.

• ISSUE 30 Oregon City School District: a 2-mill, five-year renewal levy for permanent improvements.

• ISSUE 31 Swanton Local School District: a 0.75 percent income tax over five years for operating expenses.

• ISSUE 32 Swanton Public Library: a new 0.5-mill, five-year levy, which will be voted on by those who live in the Swanton Local School District.

• ISSUE 33 Sylvania City School District: a 2.89-mill, 28-year bond issue to support a $79 million building project.

• ISSUE 34 Toledo City School District: a 0.48-mill, 10-year renewal levy for operating expenses.

• ISSUE 35 Toledo City School District: a 0.7-mill, 28-year bond levy to support a $37 million building project.

• ISSUE 36 Washington Local School District: a new 3.9-mill continuing levy for operating expenses, with 0.4 mills used for facility improvements.



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