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Archbold schools to retry levy in August

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A family attending a high school baseball game walks past a sign touting the Archbold Local School District's state ranking of Excellent. The district's board of education unanimously agreed to ask voters to approve a 9.78-mill emergency levy to fund school operations. The district's previous levy request failed at the ballot box on May 2.

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ARCHBOLD, Ohio - Voters in the Archbold Area Local School District will see on the August ballot the same 9.78-mill, five-year emergency operating levy they denied this month.

The Board of Education unanimously agreed yesterday to ask again for the levy, which failed May 2 by a final vote count of 1,133 to 1,259.

If approved, it would cost property owners more money per year than any other single property-tax request in Fulton County history, county officials said.

The levy would increase taxes by $300 a year on a $100,000, owner-occupied home. Such a move would take total annual real estate taxes on such a home in the school district to $1,755 in Archbold, $1,664 in Franklin Township, and $1,650 in German Township.

That would still be significantly lower than the highest property taxes in the county. Those are $1,904 on a $100,000 home in Fayette. The lowest are in the portion of Swancreek Township that is in Liberty Center school district: There, property taxes on such a home are $1,272 a year. But the Liberty Center district collects local income tax.

On May 2, Archbold's request was approved by only one of the school district's seven precincts, in the northwest area of the village. But only 47 percent of the 5,044 registered voters in the district cast a ballot on the levy.

The levy would raise $2.4 million a year that board members say they need to keep operating the schools, even after reducing the number of teachers and making other cuts.

Board members were encouraged, they have said, to ask for the levy again in August by some of the roughly 300 responses they got to e-mails and letters sent to every household in the district after the May 2 failure.

Some people told Superintendent Ken Cline they'd vote for the levy if it was requested again, though they were frustrated by being asked to pay more taxes and voted no the first time just to let the board know that, he said.

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