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LORDSTOWN Board to discuss next move for levy



Published: Tue, May 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The levy failed by 75 votes.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LORDSTOWN -- Board members are expected to talk about their next move at a meeting this week after voters rejected a 10.2-mill levy for the financially strapped district.

"There's no doubt that we need the money and there's no doubt that it will be put on the ballot [again]," said J.C. Gibson, school board vice president.

The board, which meets Wednesday, could opt for an August special election or wait for the November general election to place the levy before voters a second time.

Roxanna Holton, board member, said she hasn't formulated an opinion about what she believes is the best course of action.

Superintendent Ray Getz said discussion about the levy is expected at the meeting, but only the board can decide when or if to place a levy on the ballot.

Because the district is in fiscal emergency, the schools oversight commission also would have to vote on whether to place the levy on the ballot.

"I don't want to respond for the board and the commission," the superintendent said.

Gibson pointed out that the five-year levy on last week's primary election ballot lost by 75 votes. The levy would have raised about $1.3 million annually.

State Auditor Jim Petro's office declared the district in fiscal emergency last December, citing a projected $1.3 million deficit by the end of June.

"We can't save our way out of this," Gibson added.

Cuts planned: The school board and schools oversight commission planned to cut several positions including teachers, the elementary school principal and school nurse. Now the possibility of additional cuts looms.

"What we're trying to avoid is having a school system with minimum standards where students come to school, there are no extracurriculars, and they go home again," Gibson said.

Parent concerns: Bonnie Taylor, a parent, attended several school board and oversight commission meetings, voicing concerns about the elimination of the school nurse. Her 13-year-old son is diabetic and asthmatic.

She believes school officials need to make broader cuts to ensure the need for the levy hits home with voters.

"Cutting busing would hit a big group of people," Taylor said. "People would have to take their kids to school and pick them up. If they cut school lunches, that would affect a lot people. People would have to pack lunches."

Beth Krempasky, another parent concerned about the elimination of the school nurse, believes the levy amount was too high. School officials have said 10.2 mills was the amount needed to generate $1.3 million -- the amount of the deficit -- annually.

Krempasky's son, Ryan, also has diabetes.

"Hopefully they'll finally get on to cutting sports like they should have done in the first place instead of essential positions like teachers and the school nurse," she said.

dick@vindy.com




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