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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2005

Regional schools seek voter bailout

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Tax requests from Huron City school district - in fiscal emergency - and North Central and Antwerp Local districts, where leaders say the financial situation is dire after repeated levy failures, are among more than 30 area school levies on Tuesday's ballot.

Huron, operating under state oversight in Erie County, is asking for the largest millage on the ballot in northwest Ohio, a new 8.9-mill five-year levy. If the levy fails, district leaders say they will cancel all sports and extracurricular activities for next year.

Pandora-Gilboa in Putnam County wants a new 8.4-mill five-year levy and North Central in Williams County seeks a new 7.9-mill, five-year levy.

If North Central's levy passes, staff have vowed to forgo their 3 percent annual salary increase next school year, saving the district $91,000 from what union contracts and other agreements otherwise mandate.

If it fails, industrial arts and agriculture classes would be cut, the board has decided. The board would stop contributing to sports and other extracurricular programs, although they might continue pay-to-participate and private funding. Other cuts - including not replacing at least one teaching post after a retirement - are expected.

"Anything could happen," district treasurer Sandra Lashaway said. "We're trying to be optimistic."

Several districts are asking for new 1 percent or 0.75 percent income taxes.

Among them is tiny Antwerp in Paulding County, which leaders say has been hit by less state aid because of dropping enrollment. The district is asking for a new 0.75 percent income tax for five years.

Two northwest Ohio districts seek bond issues.

Millcreek-West Unity Local in eastern Williams County wants 7.6 mills for 28 years to build a $21 million school with state aid and a 0.5-mill, 23-year maintenance levy to provide for upkeep for the proposed building. The new school would be for 735 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade. The proposed building would replace the district's Hilltop elementary and high school, which are in one facility on South Defiance Street. The building's oldest portion dates to 1920; the newest was built in 1981.

Henry County's Holgate Local is asking for 3 mills for 30 years to add athletic facilities and four classrooms to a new campus under way now. Those facilities were cut from a building plan when bids went over estimates.

Statewide, school districts are asking voters for 147 tax issues and 23 bond issues, according to the secretary of state's office.

Here's what else northwest Ohio schools have on the ballot:

ERIE COUNTY

●Berlin-Milan: New 3.9-mill, 5-year emergency levy.

●Firelands: New 1 percent, continuing income tax.

●Vermilion: Renewal 4.95-mill, 3-year emergency levy.

FULTON COUNTY

●Pettisville: Renewal 3.5-mill 5-year permanent improvement levy.

HANCOCK COUNTY

●Arcadia: Replacement 1.5-mill, 5-year permanent improvement levy.

●Van Buren: New 5.5-mill, 3-year emergency levy.

●Vanlue: New 2 percent, five-year income tax for operations and new 6.5-mill, 4-year emergency levy.

HENRY COUNTY

●Patrick Henry: Renewal 2.45-mill, five-year operating levy and renewal 1.9-mill, 5e-year permanent improvement levy.

HURON COUNTY

●Berlin-Milan: New 3.9-mill, 5-year emergency levy.

●South Central: 1 percent, continuing income tax for operations.

●Willard: New 5.6-mill, 5-year emergency levy.

LUCAS COUNTY

●Maumee: New 5.9-mill, continuing levy for operations.

●Toledo: New 2.5-mill, 5-year levy for permanent improvements.

OTTAWA COUNTY

●Benton Carroll Salem: New 5.3-mill, five-year emergency levy.

●Genoa: Renewal 4.9-mill, 3-year operating levy.

PUTNAM COUNTY

●Columbus Grove: Renew 0.75 percent, 5-year income tax for operations.

●Jennings: New 0.75 percent, 5-year income tax for operations.

●Kalida: New 1 percent, continuing income tax for operating expenses.

SANDUSKY COUNTY

●Bellevue: Renewal 2-mill, 5-year levy for permanent improvements and new 1-mill, 5-year levy for operations.

●Clyde-Green Springs: New 5.9-mill, 5-year emergency levy.

SENECA COUNTY

●Clyde-Green Springs: New 5.9-mill, 5-year emergency levy.

●Arcadia: Replacement 5 year, 1.5-mill for permanent improvements.

●Vanlue: New 6.5-mill, 4-year for emergency requirements and 2 percent, 5-year income tax for operations.

WOOD COUNTY

●Bowling Green: Replace and raise 4.2-mill, 5-year operating levy.

●Eastwood: New 4.8-mill, 5-year emergency levy.

●North Baltimore: Renewal 2.2-mill, 5-year operating levy.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 410-337-7780.



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