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Published: Thursday, 8/9/2001

Fostoria schools plan layoffs after levy loss

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FOSTORIA - Eighteen layoff notices were prepared yesterday as Fostoria City Schools officials prepared to deal with another levy defeat.

Voters in several school districts Tuesday rejected proposals that would have brought more tax money into their districts. Meanwhile, voters in Wood County agreed to pay $5 million toward the expansion and renovation of the county's public library.

In the Fostoria school district, which is made up of residents from Sandusky, Seneca, and Wood counties, the defeat comes on the heels of discontinued bus routes and canceled all-day kindergarten.

Those moves were made to help the district deal with a projected budget deficit. The 5-mill levy, which included 3 mills for operation and two mills for permanent improvements, was rejected 851 votes to 759.

``Today, we worked on getting layoff notices to aides, food service employees, and bus drivers,'' said Superintendent Sharon Stannard. ``We have made about $750,000 in budget cuts now.''

Ms. Stannard said the district on Aug. 20 will recommend to the school board putting a similar proposal on the November ballot. It would be the third attempt for the district.

If the levy passed, a resident with a $80,000 home would have paid about $84 a year, she said.

Voters in the Patrick Henry School District also proved that persistence doesn't always pay off. Residents in the Henry County district rejected a $3.5 million bond issue for the third time Tuesday. The bond would have provided the district's share of a new middle school.

Voters did approve a 1.01-mill, $1.5 million bond issues that would have helped renovate the districts three elementary schools. But School Board President Tom Zgela said the proposals were an all or nothing package.

To start the school year, seventh and eighth graders will be moved from Hamler Elementary School to Deshler Elementary School, Mr. Zgela said. But Hamler will not be closed down and eventually residents will have to pay for building improvements.

Patrick Henry was put on the state's exceptional-needs list when the Ohio School Facilities Commission said Hamler Elementary should be closed because of structural problems.

Commission spokesman Steve Lutz said the school district's funding request would be set aside. But the district would not necessarily lose the money. Instead, the district would retain its exceptional needs status. And if the state legislators continued to fund the program, Patrick Henry would be once again on top of the list. Of course, that's if it raises the matching moey, he said.

The two issues that faced voters -- one to build a middle school, the other to renovate the Malinta-Grelton and Deshler elementary schools -- would have raised nearly $5 million from taxpayers for the projected $14 million projects. For someone with a $100,000 home, approval of the issues would have meant an additional $131 in annual taxes.

In Defiance, voters defeated a levy that would have been a replacement of 7.1 mills plus an additional 3.9 mills for the school district. Superintendent Richard Motuelle said yesterday that he expects a similar proposal will be placed on the November ballot.

One of the few successful measures occurred in Wood County where voters approved a $5 million, 25-year bond issue to renovate and expand the Wood County District Library.

While the library is primarily used by residents in and around Bowling Green, the library district encompasses several other areas. The district includes, for example, taxpayers in the Perrysburg school district who live outside the city limits in Middleton and Perrysburg townships. Perrysburg City residents won't pay.

It also includes the Wood County portions of Anthony Wayne, Gibsonburg, Lake, Lakota, McComb, and Patrick Henry school districts. It takes in the Wood County portion of the Fostoria City Schools district that is outside the city limits, and it covers the entire Bowling Green City School District, which extends west as far as Custar and Milton Center.

With passage of the bond issue, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $9.81 a year.



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