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Back to the drawing boards in Hubbard and Lordstown



Published: Thu, May 10, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



While voters gave thumbs up to school levies in Newton Falls, Poland, Champion and McDonald, supporters of the schools in Hubbard and Lordstown had to be disappointed with the result's of Tuesday's election. Obviously, residents in the two Trumbull County communities were in no mood to let their school districts take a bigger bite of the tax pie.

That's unfortunate.

Defeat in Lordstown: The Lordstown School District, which is already in fiscal emergency, will have no choice but to make deep cuts in its budget. After the 10.2-mill, 5-year additional levy that would have raised $1.3 million annually was defeated 565 to 415, Superintendent Ray Getz said that extracurricular activities and transportation would face cuts. But with a deficit projected to be $1.35 million by the end of June, any area that does not relate directly to instruction -- and perhaps even there -- has to face the chopping block.

With 57 percent of those who went to the polls saying "no" to a 9.8-mill renewal and increase, the Hubbard School District must confront a similar plight. Voters, apparently, were unhappy with the combined levy, many resenting what they saw was an attempt to hide the increase. But even if the levy had passed, the district's deficit was estimated to be $1 million. Without the levy, the projected deficit is $1.4 million. Lay-offs of teachers and teachers aides could be the next step.

New schools for Newton Falls: If there was talk of doom and gloom in some parts of Trumbull County, residents in Newton Falls were ecstatic as voters handily passed a bond issue and levy that will secure $16 million in state funding for new and renovated schools. The money will be used to renovate the existing middle school as a primary grade school, renovate the junior-senior high school inside and out and build a new elementary school. The district's share will be about $4 million, raised through the 2.8-mills voters passed 1,327 to 1,069.

The third time was the charm in Newton Falls, where the measure had been defeated twice before,

School levies in the Champion and McDonald school districts passed by a better than 2 to 1 margin. Renewals clearly fared better than the requests for new funds.

In Mahoning County, only the Poland School District had a levy on the ballot, a 4.2-mill, 5-year renewal levy to raise $1.4 million annually for operating costs. The measure passed 1,677 to 513, better than 3 to 1. When a district's students are doing well and its school board is keeping a tight rein on finances, as is the case in Poland, voters will respond positively.




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