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Published: Monday, 1/13/2014

Past school levies won't cover expected expenses in 2016 in Sylvania

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sylvania school board President Jim Nusbaum, left, and Sylvania Schools Superintendent Brad Rieger. Sylvania school board President Jim Nusbaum, left, and Sylvania Schools Superintendent Brad Rieger.
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The Sylvania School District is expected to collect about $50 million from operating levies this year, but officials say that is not enough to cover an estimated budget for 2016 and beyond.

That's why Superintendent Brad Rieger last week urged the school board to consider seeking a new 3.8 million levy for the May election, which would generate about $4.9 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 house $133 a year.

In the past 12 years, the district passed three operating levies: one for 4.6 mills in 2002, one for 4.9 mills in 2004, and one for 4.9 mills in 2011. Each is estimated to bring in about $6.4 million in 2014, said Chief Financial Officer Laura Sauber.

In total, the district collects revenue from 44.98 mills, with some continuous levies passed as far back as the 1930s. That means the owner of a house valued at $100,000 will pay $1,378 in operating school levies in 2014.

Mr. Rieger said the district's budget forecasts show a $1.4 million deficit in 2016 unless new revenue is brought in. The district's projects expenses increasing from about $78 million in 2013 to $83 million in 2016. It expects about $80 million in revenue in 2016, coming from property and other tax collections and about $15 million in state funding.

The school administration has cited strains in expenses because of new curriculum changes as well as needed safety and security measures. Moreover, the last two property evaluations, which occur every three years , total property values have declined for businesses and homes, which means less in taxes being collected.

School board President Jim Nusbaum said the board will review the administration's request to place a levy on the ballot.

“We expect a decent discussion on it on the 23rd,” he said, referring to the 8:30 a.m. meeting Jan. 23 in the district's Administrative Building.

He said the school administration is looking for ways to operate in a frugal manner while balancing providing an excellent education in a safe and secure atmosphere.

Recently, Mr. Nusbaum’s family, along with friends and community members raised $500,000 for the construction of  new stadium at Southview High School, to be named after his deceased father Mel.

Mr. Nusbaum said that residents should know that the district has an operating budget of $80 million this year, which is funded through levies.

District officials pointed to the Academic Excellence Foundation as one of several private fund efforts to support technology-based instruction. Nancy Crandell, district spokesman, said is gearing up to raise funds by next year, such as for for the Chromebook laptop computers for students.

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



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