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Published: Wednesday, 8/10/2011

Lake schools revote to ensure levy goes on ballot

BLADE STAFF

Turns out, Lake Local Schools needed at least one more vote to get a levy request on the fall ballot.

After learning that its 3-0 decision earlier this week was one vote shy of complying with Ohio’s election law, the Lake school board called an emergency meeting Wednesday to vote to place a five-year, 4.75 mill levy on the ballot.

The meeting was held just hours before the 4 p.m. filing deadline for the Nov. 8 election. The board called the session after receiving an email alert from a former board member Wednesday morning that a 3/4 vote was required to pass the resolution to place the levy on the ballot, said Lake Treasurer Jeff Carpenter.

Due to a technicality in election law, the board needed to convene the meeting in order to reapprove Tuesday’s resolution, Mr. Carpenter said.

Because members were either out of town or were unavailable because of job responsibilities, the board Tuesday lacked the required 3/4 vote standard required to pass the resolution, he said.

The meeting Wednesday was scheduled to be held in a cafeteria on Jefferson Street in Toledo, but actually was held in a hallway. The meeting lasted about a minute. Casting the all-important fourth ‘yes’ vote was board member Nathan Eikost who was on his lunch break. Board members Tim Krugh, Brad Delventhal, and Eric Hirzel voted during both meetings this week.

Lake’s fifth board member, Margene Akenberger, is out of town.

The vote-number error occurred as the board scurried to meet the filing deadline.

Filing deadline for placing a school levy on the ballot has changed from 75 days before an election to 90 days before an election, putting school boards in a time crunch, considering that just last week Lake and other districts in Ohio were on the ballot seeking approval of operating funds. Lake’s attempt, as did others in the state, failed.

The special election was held Aug. 2, and on Aug. 3, Lake’s board took the first of two steps toward putting a levy on the Nov. 8 ballot, which is to pass a resolution asking the Wood County auditor to certify figures. The board can only take the second step after the auditor signs the paperwork needed on the certification. Luckily, the auditor wasn’t out of town on vacation last week or this week.

Switching the filing deadline to 90 days before the election has created havoc for school boards scrambling to meet that deadline, Mr. Carpenter said, calling the change an “example of the law of unintended consequences.” Someone at the state level “didn’t think about what the ramifications could be,” he said yesterday afternoon, just before dashing off to the board of elections office in Bowling Green to file the paperwork for the Nov. 8 ballot issue.

The levy would generate an estimated $1.1 million annually, equal to the amount of federal and state funding cuts to the district for this fiscal year. The owner of a house valued at $100,000 would pay $145 per year if the levy is approved. The levy would bring in the first new operating dollars since 2006 for the district.



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