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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2006

Springfield Township: Interest in levy sought

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Although only about 10 people showed up at a recent Springfield Local Schools meeting to explain the district's decision to ask voters for a 3.5-mill operating levy on the May ballot, board members hope there's more participation before the election.

More meetings will be held, said board president Nancy Decker, and the panel hopes attendance will rise "once the word gets out that we are asking for a levy."

The most recent meeting was at the Holland branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, just one day after the board made its decision.

A meeting the day before the board decision, held at the Springfield Township hall, was only attended by a few residents.

The district has said expenses have risen sharply, particularly heating and diesel fuel for buses while funding from the state has continued to decrease.

Ms. Decker said that it's difficult to predict what the needs may be because of changing state funding formulas, but increased funding is needed now.

A citizens group is being formed that will lead a campaign and schedule community meetings to explain those needs, she said.

The district last year won approval for an 8.9-mill operating levy.

The passage replaced two levies which totaled the same amount and expired at the beginning of the year. That levy raises about $6.5 million annually and is on a continuing basis.

The levy scheduled for the May ballot will also be continuing millage.

Bob Moellenberg, treasurer of the district, said that with the uncertainty of state funding, it makes financial predictions too risky when levies need to be renewed on a regular basis.

Ms. Decker said that like everyone else, she is aware of rising costs for property owners, but said "we're representatives of the community and try to be good shepherds of our resources."

Being careful with school funds doesn't leave money in reserve when expenses unexpectedly rise or income levels fall short of what was expected, she said.

She added that she is looking forward to meeting with members of the community "who have concerns, are interested, or are supportive," of the measure."



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