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Published: Wednesday, 11/9/2005

Lake, Bowling Green school levies fail

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Lake Local Schools voters rejected the district s sixth consecutive school levy request yesterday, leaving the district unable to collect any money in 2006.

Final, unofficial results indicate the measure went down by a vote of 2,210 (52 percent) to 2,007 (47 percent).

Levy supporters were holding onto a glimmer of hope in the early morning hours today when partial levy results from the Wood County board of elections showed that those for the five-year, emergency property tax levy equivalent to 8.74 mills had a slight lead. But that hope was quickly dashed.

In Bowling Green, voters sounded defeated the district's 28-year, 5.43-mill bond issue, with nearly 62 percent of the vote against it and only 38 percent for the issue.

The measure would have raised $43.28 million to build a middle school, a performing arts center, and two other non-classroom structures -- a support services facility and an athletic building on the 80-acre site of Bowling Green High School.

Perrysburg and Maumee school officials were celebrating this morning when they found out both of their funding requests passed along with the Pemberville Public Library System s first-ever tax levy request.

The Lake levy would have brought in $1.8 million a year for the cash-strapped district.

The obvious major concern most of us have is that when this thing passes and I m hoping in 2006 but we still won t see money until January of 2007, Superintendent Paul Orshoski said. So that will provide some challenges for the district.

Lake schools are facing a deficit of more than $1.5 million at the end of 2008 if the district stays status quo with the personnel and service cuts the school board has already made, and without a levy passed.

The district s treasurer jumped ship last Friday, joining other administrators who have left the district in recent months.

Reduction measures totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years have eliminated bus service to state transportation minimums, the supplemental positions that oversee sports and extracurricular activities, four custodial positions, and field trips.

Though they do not anticipate making any more cuts this school year, Mr. Orshoski said the school board will have to continue to look at ways to cut from the district s already barren budget.

In Lucas County, the Maumee City Schools 4.8-mill continuing operating levy squeaked out a win with 50.25 percent of voters approving the levy.

The levy will help offset a projected deficit of more than $3 million by next school year, and will be used for supplies, utilities, salaries, and other operating expenses. It will cost a $100,000 homeowner $147 a year and will raise more than $2.4 million annually for the district.

Perrysburg Exempted Village Schools voters approved a 1.9-mill replacement tax levy for permanent improvements to maintain and upgrade buildings with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Voters have renewed the levy four times since 1985. Homeowners have been paying the equivalent of a 1.38-mill levy. The replacement will cost $116 for a $200,000 homeowner and will raise about $1.3 million a year.

The district uses the money to maintain school buildings and to buy buses and educational equipment.

More than 60 percent of voters in the Eastwood Local Schools passed a five-year, 1-mill improvement levy for the library system to improve its three branches.

Officials plan to expand the building on East Front Street, add a meeting room at the Stony Ridge branch, and buy computers for its Luckey branch.

The levy will generate $182,000 a year and will cost a $100,000 homeowner $30 a year.



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