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Education

Sylvania school board votes for 3.8-mill levy on May ballot

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    School board president Jim Nusbaum

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The Sylvania School Board of Education unanimously voted to place a 3.8 mill operating levy on the May ballot at a special meeting today.

The board voted 5-0, following a recommendation by school administrators, to request the Lucas County Auditor to certify the tax valuation and the amount generated. Once the certification is received, the board will vote on final approval at its regularly scheduled meeting 7 p.m. Monday at Southview High School.

Sylvania-school-board-Jim-Nusbaum

School board president Jim Nusbaum

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The operating levy, which will be continuous, is estimated to collect $4.9 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 house $133 a year, Superintendent Brad Rieger said. The school’s budget forecasts show a $1.4 million deficit in 2016.

Board member Vicki Donovan Lyle said she and Julie Hoffman, along with Chief Financial Officer Laura Sauber, met with the Northview and Southview parent club to gather input, and received “support across the board.”

“They want us to continue to have the same frugal mindset, but they also demand the excellence that we are delivering,” she said.

School board members said there is an expectation that state funding is going to continue to decline. Mrs. Sauber has said state funding was reduced from $19 million in 2010 to an expected $15 million in 2016.

Officials said 85 jobs have been cut from the school district's budget and some portions of the budget were frozen. Sylvania school board President Jim Nusbaum said the 3.8 millage is less than what the school normally collects in terms of operating taxes. The amount, he said, addresses concerns about homeowners who may have financial constraints. Operating levies passed in 2004 and 2011 were each for 4.9 mills. The district’s operating levies, 44.98 mills total, are continual.

If the voters pass the levy, Mr. Nusbaum said, the board will try to stretch dollars as much as possible but that the outlook for future state funding is “not optimistic.” He said the district will continue to look for ways to save money.

The district is seeking private donations to fund an expansion of its athletic facilities and its digital learning initiative, where each student will have one-to-one learning via Chromebooks.

The meeting allowed for public input but no residents attended the morning meeting.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso. 

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