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Published: Sunday, 11/6/2005

Suburban school districts request help to stem budget deficits

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Several area suburban school districts need voters to approve funding requests on Tuesday to avoid operating deficits - something Lake Local Schools officials have been telling voters for the last four elections.

The Lake district needs voters to approve a five-year, 8.74-mill emergency tax levy that will raise $1.8 million a year, representing the district's last attempt to collect new operating money in 2006. Their last five funding requests have been soundly rejected.

Officials from the cash-strapped Wood County district say they need new money to avoid $1.5 million deficit at the end of 2008 if a levy is not passed and the district stays status quo with the millions of dollars in personnel and service cuts the board has already made.

"If it doesn't pass, we would have to consider continuing to look at cuts," Superintendent Paul Orshoski said. "Everything is a possibility, but I'm not sure where else we can cut without tearing the district apart."

Elsewhere in the county, Perrysburg school district voters will decide whether to approve a five-year, 1.9-mill replacement levy for permanent improvements to maintain and upgrade school buildings. If approved, it would raise about $1.3 million a year and would cost $116 for a $200,000 homeowner.

Eastwood Local School District voters will consider a five-year, 1-mill permanent improvements levy for the Pemberville Public Library System to expand its main branch and make improvements to its Luckey and Stony Ridge branches. It would generate $182,000 a year and would cost a $100,000 homeowner $30 a year if passed.

In Lucas County, Maumee City School District voters will be asked to approve a 4.8-mill continuing operating levy to help offset a projected deficit of more than $3 million by next school year. The levy, if approved, would raise more than $2.4 million annually and would cost a $100,000 homeowner $147 a year.

In Ottawa County, Genoa Area Local School District leaders are asking voters for an additional 3.9-mill, 3-year operating levy.

A number of contested school board races will appear on the ballot in Lucas County, including the race for three open seats on the Oregon Board of Education. Incumbents Betty Carstensen and Ray Walendzak will be running against Jeff Ziviski and Kollin Rice.

In Ottawa Hills, Karen Rogalski is challenging incumbents John Buckey, Gretchen Rohm, and Gary Wilson for their three school board seats.

Sylvania Board of Education members George Gernot III, Pam Haynam, and Dave Spiess will also have competition as they face Don Miller and David Walker for their three seats.

In the Swanton Local School District, housed in Fulton County and a portion of Lucas County, three board members will be elected from a slate of four candidates, including incumbent Mike Remer and challengers Dennis Heban, Jeff Michael, and Michael Wiederman.

Fulton County voters will also face decisions in the Archbold and Gorham-Fayette school board races.

In Archbold, incumbent Cheryl Storrer is running against challengers Roel Galvan, Keith Radabaugh, Tony Warncke, and Janet Wyse for three seats.

Gorham-Fayette's race pits incumbents Paula Schaffner and Fred Stockburger against Shelly Demoulin, Jered Lemley, and John Kim Winzeler for two seats.

Four Wood County school districts also have contested races - none more hotly challenged than the race for Eastwood Local Board of Education. Nine candidates are vying for three seats, including incumbent Denis Helm and challengers Roger Bostdorff, Randall Cajka, Patti Himburg, Greg Pierce, Lewis Renollet, John Schulte, Mark Schulte, and Tim Shank.

Incumbents Margene Akenberger and Ted Hubler are running for another term on the Lake Local Board of Education, while Timothy Krugh - who was appointed to his seat this year - and Ken Smith are also running for one of the three available terms.

All three incumbents up for re-election on the Perrysburg Board of Education, including Gretchen Downs, Mark Schoenlein, and Ken Widdel, are running for re-election against challenger Val Hovland.

In Rossford, incumbents Richard Hotz and Joseph Minarcin filed petitions to run again while Dawn Burks, who was appointed to the school board in August, is running for her first full term. The two open school board seats are challenged by Jacqueline Brown, Keith Heidebrink, and Diane McKinney.

No incumbents are running for re-election on the Woodmore Local School Board in Sandusky County, leaving them open for challengers Chadwick Bringman, Edward Magsig, Mark Rosenberger, and Lori Sue Schultze.

Contact Erika Ray at: eray@theblade.com or 419-724-6088.



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