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Published: Monday, 3/31/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

School districts ask voters for boosts

Sylvania cites lost funding; Bedford eyes extensive projects

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ruthann Finch hands out levy yard signs after a pep rally at Northview High School in Sylvania in support of the district’s 3.8-mill continuing levy request on the May 6 ballot. Ruthann Finch hands out levy yard signs after a pep rally at Northview High School in Sylvania in support of the district’s 3.8-mill continuing levy request on the May 6 ballot.
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A slide in state funding prompted Sylvania Schools to ask for a new tax to pay for operating expenses such as personnel, curriculum, technology, and building maintenance.

The 3.8-mill continuing levy would provide an estimated $4.9 million yearly to offset budget struggles and cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $133 annually, according to district numbers.

The levy is one of numerous school, village, and county issues voters around the region will decide in the May 6 election. Early voting begins Tuesday in Ohio, while Michigan does not have early voting.

Sylvania Superintendent Brad Rieger said his district’s levy request is in response to an $11 million decrease in state funding since 2010 and a drop in property valuations.

“This levy would help us recoup a portion of that money that we’ve lost ... the last four years and to maintain the financial stability of the district,” he said.

At Bedford Public Schools in Monroe County, a requested $70.3 million bond proposal would pay for extensive building projects, including a new elementary school at a yet-to-be-determined site and renovations to two elementaries, the junior high, and the high school buildings.

Because two school taxes are set to expire, the 30-year, 4.37-mill levy — if approved — would have a net-effect increase of 2.05-mill, or an additional $179 a year for the owner of a $175,000 home, according to district estimates.

“It does have an impact on people’s taxes, but we believe this will enhance our teaching and learning and touch every student,” said Superintendent Mark Kleinhans.

Financing for another major school project will be decided by voters in Hancock County’s Van Buren Schools district. It seeks a 37-year, 6.9-mill bond issue to raise about $29 million.

Superintendent Tim Myers said the district wants to make improvements to its middle and high school building, a portion of which dates to 1917.

The building’s oldest parts would be demolished, and about 37 new classrooms and a gym built.

The facility has masonry, sewage line, and electrical problems, he said.

The bond also would pay for some work in the elementary building.

A previous levy, passed in 2000, is scheduled to drop its collection amount, lessening the impact of the requested bond to an effective increase of 5.6 mills, or an extra $195 a year for the owner of a $100,000 house, Mr. Myers said.

Other issues and proposals voters will decide include:

■ Rossford voters will decide two fire levy renewals and two replacement levies for recreational purposes. The five-year fire levies are for 0.6-mill and 1-mill. The five-year recreation levies are both for 0.4-mill.

■ Swanton Local School District seeks renewal of a 0.75 percent income tax for current expenses.

■ Northwood Local School District will ask voters for a 4.9-mill property tax for 37 years to pay for the local share of a school building project and a continuing 0.25 percent income tax for operating expenses.

■ Hancock County’s Union Township seeks an additional five-year, 1.5-mill tax for fire protection.

■ The village of Deshler in Henry County seeks an additional five-year, 2.1-mill levy for police protection.

■ The village of Holgate, also in Henry County, seeks two levies: A five-year, 2-mill recreation levy for a swimming pool and a continuing 1-mill levy for parks and recreation.

■ Liberty Center Local Schools seeks an $18.5 million bond issue, to be repaid over 37 years with a 7.9-mill levy, for a construction project and a 0.5-mill continuing levy.

■ Ottawa County’s Genoa Area Local School District seeks an additional five-year, 4.99-mill emergency levy.

■ Danbury Local School District, also in Ottawa County, seeks a continuing, 1.5-mill levy for permanent improvements.

■ Fulton County voters will be asked for a five-year, 1.1-mill renewal and 0.5-mill increase for senior citizens’ services and facilities.

■ The village of Delta in Fulton County seeks an additional five-year, 1.25-mill tax for pool operations.

■ Fulton Township in Fulton County seeks a five-year, 0.75-mill tax for road work.

■ The Pike-Delta-York Local School District will ask voters to renew a $909,937 levy and increase it by $320,000 for emergency requirements. The estimated amount of the five-year levy is 7.62 mills.

■ Arcadia Local School District seeks a five-year, 1 percent income tax for operating expenses.

■ The village of Attica in Seneca County seeks a five-year, 3-mill replacement levy for police protection.

■ The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties will ask Sandusky County voters to pass an additional five-year, 0.8-mil levy for treatment and other services in that county. The board previously passed levies in its other two counties. The Sandusky County levy would raise about $906,000 in its first year.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com, 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.



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