TPS board puts levy on Nov. ballot

6/26/2013
BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

For the second straight year, Toledo Public Schools will be on the ballot.

The Toledo Board of Education voted Tuesday to place its current 6.5-mill operating levy before voters for a five-year renewal in November. The tax generates about $13 million annually for district operations, and it was approved by voters in 2008 with about 61 percent of the vote.

Before the vote, several board members and district officials held a news conference Tuesday to make the case for the levy. They stressed that the renewal levy would not increase homeowners’ taxes, highlighted what they said has been the district’s responsiveness to the community in recent years, and argued that a strong school system is important for the city.

District leaders hope the renewal will reverse a recent history of ballot-box failures, most recently the November defeat of a new 4.9-mill levy that would have generated $13.3 million annually. It lost by a margin of 52.45 percent to 47.55 percent.

In other business, the board voted to fire Sandra Meeks-Speller, an assistant principal accused by district administrators of using inappropriate physical discipline with students, making threats, and using racially tinged language.

A state-appointed referee had rejected most of the district’s allegations as unsubstantiated or untrue, but the board disregarded that opinion. Ms. Meeks-Speller declined to comment after the vote, referring questions to her attorney, who was not at the meeting.

The board also approved selling the old McKinley Elementary, 1901 West Central Ave., to ProMedica for $650,000 following an auction last week, and it approved negotiations with Denver-based Community Development Institute for the Franklin, Mount Vernon, Jefferson Center, and Mayfair buildings.

The district plans to negotiate with the city over the transfer of a series of vacant former school sites and Nelson Grace Park.