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Published: Tuesday, 10/19/2010

Public invited to hear details of Perrysbrug schools levy Thursday

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

If voters in the Perrysburg School district approve a permanent improvement levy in November, funds will be used to upgrade buildings, purchase buses, and construct athletic facilities, among other projects.

On Nov. 2 residents will decide whether to replace an expiring permanent improvement levy, originally passed in 2005 at 1.9 mills, with another 1.9-mill, five-year levy.

Details on the levy and proposed projects will be outlined during a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Commodore Building cafeteria, 140 East Indiana Ave.

The levy would cost the owner of a $200,000 home about $116 a year, or about $12 more per year than the existing levy.

The replacement levy would generate about $1.6 million annually.

Since 1985 Perrysburg residents have supported the permanent improvement levy every five years, Superintendent Thomas Hosler said, and the revenue has been reinvested in school buildings. "Perrysburg has valued that in the past. We hope voters continue to place value on that."

If the expiring levy is not replaced, the district will lose $1.4 million dollars a year.

Perrysburg Schools reduced its budget last year by $3.1 million and eliminated 51 positions.

If the levy fails, options would narrow: Allow buildings to deteriorate or tap into the general fund to pay for permanent improvements, which would mean more staff and program cuts.

"Obviously that is a concern for us," Mr. Hosler said.

Three of six schools housing students on a daily basis were constructed before 1966 (Toth in 1953, Frank in 1957, and Perrysburg Junior High in 1964).

Permanent improvement funds can be used for bricks and mortar or to buy buses and educational equipment, but not for salaries, programs, or day-to-day operations.

Proposed projects for 2011-2015 include energy-conservation measures; roof-and-parking-lot maintenance; sidewalk repairs, and air conditioning at Frank and Toth elementary schools, where temperatures on school days have reached more than 90 degrees. Woodland Elementary's 1979 boiler is scheduled for replacement.

In addition, plans call for construction of softball and baseball fields and a track at the high school.

Most varsity sports take place at the junior high, Mr. Hosler noted.

Last year the junior high baseball field closed temporarily until screen netting was erected after a baseball hit a car on a nearby highway.

Relocating ball fields to the high school would address safety concerns and eliminate costs to transport varsity teams to the junior high, Mr. Hosler said.

The district has received a $100,000 donation to assist with the baseball field project, he noted. The same busing situation occurs for varsity track, said Mr. Hosler, who recalled one of his first days on the job. He drove to the high school and "there were 90 kids running at me." Physical education classes use the parking lot as a running track.

A new track would benefit not only athletes but physical education students and the general public who could use it, he said.

Other proposals include purchase of additional bus cameras to provide sound and images of drivers and passengers. Some cameras are in place now, but not enough for the entire fleet, Mr. Hosler said.

Also, the district hopes to purchase five to 10 buses, Mr. Hosler said. Nearly 25 percent of the district's buses have more than 200,000 miles on them, and 20 percent of the buses are more than 15 years old. A new bus costs about $84,000.

No timetable for the projects is in place yet, he said.



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