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Published: Wednesday, 11/9/2011

Education levy results mixed

Pike-Delta-York funds passed

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Northwest Ohio voters were in a "no" mood Tuesday when it came to several school issues, but some districts secured enough votes to pass funding requests.

In the Pike-Delta-York Local Schools District in Fulton County, where voters have rejected seven funding requests since 2002, a 5.99-mill, 3-year operating levy was approved.

The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 house $183 annually for three years. Passage of the levy "buys us about 12 to 14 months," said Superintendent Robin Rayfield. "What we passed is about half of what we needed. In January the newly seated board with a new superintendent will have to determine what they are going to do to balance the budget."

Mr. Rayfield, who is retiring, said people knew going into this vote that steps would need to be taken by 2013, such as possibly a tax increase and some additional reductions, to avoid a deficit.

In the last four years, Pike-Delta-York has made $1.8 million in cuts; during that time, the district's revenue declined by nearly $3 million, mainly as a result of changes in tax laws. Voters did not renew a 3.7-mill emergency levy in 2008, which has meant $632,500 a year less in revenue.

In Ottawa County, the Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools district, which has won no new money for 11 years, lost its bid for a five-year, 3.9-mill operating levy. It would have generated about $1.3 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 house $119 annually.

Defeat of the levy could mean that the district's elementary schools in Graytown and Carroll Township will close, and participation fees could be imposed and bus routes could be reduced.

Patrick Henry Local Schools, mostly situated in Henry County, was making its fourth attempt to pass an operating levy. District voters in Henry and Wood counties rejected the levy Tuesday; returns from overlapping areas in Putnam County were unavailable. The district was seeking an emergency, 6.5-mill, three-year levy.

More staff would be cut in January if the levy failed, Superintendent Thomas Taylor said recently, and bus routes could be reduced and pay-to-participate fees would be imposed.

A 0.2-mill, continuing permanent improvement levy in the Four County Career Center district that includes Henry, Fulton, Williams, and Defiance counties and overlaps into Lucas, Wood, Putnam, and Paulding counties was rejected. It would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $3.12 a year, generating $555,800 a year. The district has had no new local money since 1987. Plans called for a $2 million project to add six classrooms and to construct a new front entrance at its building near Archbold.

In other districts, unofficial results showed:

Tiffin City Schools, 4.9-mill, continuing operating levy, defeated.

Clyde-Green Springs, 4.9-mill, three-year emergency levy, defeated.

Fayette Local Schools, 7-mill, five-year operating levy renewal, approved.

Old Fort Schools, 6.3-mill, five-year renewal operating and permanent improvements, approved.

Contact Janet Romaker at: jromaker@theblade.com, or 419-724-6006.



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