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Published: Thursday, 8/14/2003

Oregon, Genoa schools seeking levy votes

The Oregon and Genoa school districts decided yesterday to place levy requests on the November ballot.

Oregon city schools will ask voters for a 5.9-mill operating levy to maintain current programs and staffing levels.

“With state funding being unknown, 5.9 mills seems like the lowest we can get by with,” Superintendent John Hall told the Oregon Board of Education at its special meeting yesterday morning.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property value. One mill in the Oregon district generates $589,000 a year, according to information released by school officials. A 5.9-mill levy would total more than $3.4 million a year.

The school district has not sought new operating money since 1996, Mr. Hall said.

He said the district wants to assure it has enough operating money before putting a bond issue on the ballot next year to improve school facilities.

One obstacle to passing the 5.9-mill levy might be the recent increase in real estate values throughout Lucas County, which caused property taxes to increase.

“What we need to drive home to people is that, yes, real estate taxes went up - mine went up 15 percent - but the school district is not seeing a 15 percent increase,” board member Eric Heintschel said.

The Genoa school board also held a special meeting yesterday, where members voted to put a levy before voters. The board will discuss the amount later this month, Superintendent Dennis Mock said.

The ballot measure is a combined operating levy and bond issue. Mr. Mock said the bond issue will likely be for 5 to 6 mills, and the operating levy probably will be 3 to 4 mills.

He said the bond issue will raise money for a new elementary school, and the levy will raise funds needed because of state budget cuts.

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