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Published: Tuesday, 8/12/2003

P-D-Y District mulls 2nd levy request

DELTA - The Pike-Delta-York Local Board of Education is to consider tonight putting a tax levy request on the November ballot that would be identical to the one that failed last week.

Nearly 70 percent of voters opposed the 4.5-mill, five-year levy request, among the biggest levy losses in several decades in Fulton County, according to the county board of elections.

But Superintendent Russ Griggs said it did not set a bad precedent for the school board. Mr. Griggs had predicted before the election that the levy would fail because the board and teachers had not agreed on a labor contract.

The school board met on election night with an agenda prepared in advance that listed taking the first step toward putting its additional 4.5-mill, 5-year operating levy back on the November ballot. The motion for the first of two steps passed unanimously.

Because of the impasse with the teachers' union and uncertainties of state funding just weeks before the election, Mr. Griggs said the school board did not campaign for the levy. Teachers' salaries and health insurance premiums and coverage are the sticking points in the talks, Mr. Griggs said. The teachers' contract, which last year was extended for one year, expires Aug. 31.

Mr. Griggs said an organized campaign is necessary to pass a levy.

“Your `no' voters are pretty steady. It's a matter of getting the `yes' voters out,” he said.

Budget cuts are not on the agenda for tonight's meeting, which begins at 6:30. But Mr. Griggs said he plans next month to propose cuts in programs, transportation, and extracurricular activities for the 2004-2005 school year.

He said Pike-Delta-York's financial situation is not as dire as the neighboring Swanton school district, which had an operating levy defeated last week and is considering cuts for the school year that begins in two weeks.

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