RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
FRANKLIN FURNACE — Green Local School District is hosting a special election on Tuesday of next week, asking voters living in the district to approve a $475,000 tax levy for emergency operating expenses.
The cost of the special election was reportedly as much as $21,000, and will be paid by the school district.
“Let the community understand this is not for new buildings or new programs. This is simply to operate and give the kids a good education,” said Superintendent Sandy Mers.
Without the levy, she said the school could fall into fiscal watch, caution, or emergency status with the Ohio Department of Education. The school has already suffered many cuts, including 17.5 positions which have been eliminated since 2006.
The district previously tried to pass the levy in the March election, but failed with a 684-660 vote — only 24 votes. They also failed to pass a separate $1 million general operations levy in November 2010 by a vote of 1,039-442. Mers said she is cautiously optimistic that it will pass next week.
“We’ve had quite a bit of positive comments from community members. We’ve tried to be as open as possible in answering any questions given to us and putting everything on the table. I think that’s the best way to do it, to be clear and open on the communication,” she said.
According to the district, if the emergency levy passes in August, the tax bill of a local property valued at $200,000 will cost an extra $490 each year — or $1.34 a day, while a property valued at $25,000 will cost an extra $61.25 each year — or 17 cents a day.
If the levy does not pass, the district will still have time to register for the November election and try again. The election is Aug. 7, and the filing deadline for November is Aug. 8.
Mers said overall response for the election next week seems positive so far.
“I think folks are starting to realize this is really about the education, and it’s amazing the quality of education given at Green. That has never been in question. Our teachers are phenomenal and our kids deserve this,” she said.
The district received the banner from the Ohio Department of Education in February for earning an “Excellent” rating on the 2010-11 ODE district report card, meeting 20 of 26 total state indicators and earning a 96.4 performance index score.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.