Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of articles intended to inform voters of candidates and issues on the ballot this fall.
FRANKLIN FURNACE — The Green Local School District hopes the third time will be a charm when the district asks voters in the November election to approve a 7-mill $475,000 tax levy for emergency operating expenses. This is the third time the district has asked voters to support the levy.
The district asked voters during the March primary election to pass the levy, but failed with a vote of 684-660. Remaining optimistic, the district arranged a special election on Aug. 7 for voters to re-consider the levy. The estimated cost of a special election is about $20,000, but the Green Superintendent Sandy Mers said it cost the district only $6,000 because the Scioto County Board of Elections was able to build its own database to save money.
The levy failed again in August, with an official certified vote count of 566-509.
After the votes had been counted, Mers said she felt defeated.
“It crushed me, especially for the kids and the teachers. I had three teachers that worked their heart and soul for this. They care about the school; we all care about the kids and their education, and it’s defeating. It really is,” she said after the August election.
With only one day remaining after the August election before the November filing deadline, the Green School Board met in emergency session immediately after the election and voted to try again in November.
“We are getting quite a bit of community support right now, which is fabulous. Our pee wee football parents have stepping in to help. They came in and cleaned up the football stadium. Anything we need, they’re doing. The Nazarene church behind the school painted our fence that’s around the perimeter of the school. We’re getting a lot of community involvement,” Mers said. “Anytime you support the school and get involved in this school, you see how important the school is to the community. If you drive by this school any time, any day, you’ll see it’s the heart of the community.”
One-mill is equal to one-tenth of one percent. According to the district, if this 7-mill levy passes a local property valued at $200,000 would pay an extra $490 each year — or $1.34 a day. At the lower end, a property valued at $25,000 would pay an extra $61.25 each year — or 17 cents a day.
Whether or not the levy passes in November, Mers said under no circumstances is the school in any danger of closing or consolidating with nearby districts. What will happen, though, is that 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.
Mers said the district is already operating with just “bare-bones,” and aren’t sure where else they could cut if the levy fails in November.
“We will just have to re-examine everything. Everything. I really hope it doesn’t come to that,” she said.
Other levies appearing on the ballot in November include a 0.5 mill levy for cemeteries in Green Township; a 1-mill renewal levy for current expenses in New Boston; a 1-mill renewal levy for current expenses in South Webster; a 1.5-mill replacement levy for roads, and a 1.25-mill replacement levy for fire equipment in Clay Township; a 2-mill replacement levy for resurfacing roads in Harrison Township; a 1-mill renewal levy for fire protection in Morgan Township; a 3.25-mill replacement and additional levy for police protection in Rush Township; a 1.5-mill replacement levy for EMS, and 2.75-mills for a sheriff’s deputy in Valley Township; and a 2-mill replacement levy for roads and bridges in Washington Township.
Among liquor option requests, the Board of Elections certified petitions for Frank-N-Steins in Portsmouth to ask voters for Sunday sales, First Stop in Portsmouth to ask voters for the ability to sell beer, Walmart in New Boston to ask voters for Sunday sales, Frank’s Place in New Boston to ask voters for Sunday sales, BG’s Food Mart in New Boston to ask voters for Sunday sales, The First Stop Rarden Village is asking to be able to sell beer, Crazy Coo in Green to ask voters for the ability to sell beer and wine and mixed beverages and for Sunday sales, the First Stop in Jefferson to ask voters for the ability to sell beer, and B&B Mobil Food and Catering Porter to ask voters for the ability to sell beer and wine and mixed beverage.
The General Election is Nov. 6, but early voting is open now.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.