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Education

TPS likely to ask for new levy OK in 2012

Pecko, Vasquez see need for new dollars

tps-levy

Toledo Public Schools Board of Education president Bob Vasquez, left, and Superintendent Jerome Pecko, right, discuss plans for TPS.

The Blade
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The lead administrator and current board president of Toledo Public Schools both agreed Thursday that a new levy on the ballot in 2012 is likely, if not inevitable.

Superintendent Jerome Pecko said that a new levy was something he saw happening. His assessment was later supported by Toledo Board of Education president Bob Vasquez.

"We've reached a point where we are going to have to have some additional dollars," Mr. Pecko said. "A levy in 2012 is something I see happening."

The school board has not publicly discussed placing a levy before voters in 2012.

The statements came during a WGTE television town hall program that focused on partnerships between TPS and the United Way of Greater Toledo.

The program highlighted an initiative called "schools as community hubs," where TPS partners with nonprofit groups that provide services such as medical and dental care, social services, or after-school programs.

Mr. Pecko commented about a possible levy in response to a question by WGTE moderator Bill Harris. Mr. Vasquez, who was at the WGTE program but did not participate, later said that, while the board has not voted on or scheduled a vote for a possible levy, a campaign for new money is likely a "foregone conclusion."

"We are going to need new money," he said.

Faced with a shrinking student population and less state and federal aid, the Toledo school district has been in a cut mode in recent years, shaving millions through layoffs, building closings, reduced services, and employee concessions.

Levies failed twice last year. Voters have not approved a new levy for the Toledo school district's general fund since 2000.

Mr. Pecko recommended in July against a levy request this year, citing Toledo's continued sluggish economy. The board ultimately followed the recommendation.

At the time of his recommendation, Mr. Pecko left open the possibility of a levy request in 2012.

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