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Published: Thursday, 1/9/2014

Sylvania school board considers 3.8 mill operating levy

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania School’s Superintendent Brad Rieger asked the school board today to consider a motion placing a 3.8 mill operating levy on the May primary election ballot.

He said the district will have a deficit in July 2016. It is projected at $1.4 million.

“The last levy passed in May 2011, we told the community we would strive with it for three years, and we did,” he explained to board members at their meeting tonight, adding that despite stretching out dollars a levy would be needed.

The 2011 operating levy was 4.9 mills.

If voters pass a new levy, it would generate about $4.9 million per year, and will cost a taxpayer with a $100,000 home $133 per year, he said.

School board president Jim Nusbaum and other board members decided to review the levy issue, and discuss it at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 23, at the Administrative Building, 4747 Holland-Sylvania Rd. The board is expected to also vote on the resolution that day but would need a second vote later to ask the Lucas County Board of Elections to put it on the ballot.

Laura Sauber, chief financial officer, said Monday the school's operating budget for July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, is $78 million, and they will have about $3.8 million at the end of the fiscal year.

Mr. Rieger noted decreased state funding along with drops in property taxes in the past four years have forced the district to cut 85 positions, and to consider candidates just out of college to fill vacant jobs.

He noted that the district has taken measures to “contain costs” by freezing building and department budgets - with the exception of curriculum and technology - at reduced levels during a round of cuts in 2010.

Despite those efforts and pooling funds from private parent-run organizations, funds are needed for safety and security efforts, purchasing materials to align with the new Common Core curriculum, and maintaining an educational standard that enables students to compete in a global and digital economy, he said.

The district tabled a discussion on a levy last year because of an unexpected slight increase in state funding, although officials say the state funds have not reached their original levels before an economic downturn.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.



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