The majority of voters said "yes" to the children of their communities by voting for area school levies, with two exceptions: Brookfield's request for technology funds and most notably, the Austintown School Bond issue. Failure to provide the children of Austintown with decent schools is unfortunate. However, with only 38 votes separating the "yesses" from the "nos," Austintown school officials should put the measure on the ballot again -- unless the count of 62 provisional ballots on Nov. 19 puts the issue in the "win" column.
Had Austintown voters approved the 3.9-mill bond issue, the district would have been able to build a new junior high school, renovate and add on to Frank Ohl Middle School and realign the grades to bring all students in fourth through 12th grades onto one large campus to be shared with the new public library and community fitness center. Instead, youngsters will still be attending classes in the highly inadequate 85-year-old junior high school.
New schools in LaBrae: LaBrae voters, however, said "yes" to new schools, passing school bonds there 1,208 to 1,176. The bonds will raise $8.9 million, and the state's share from the Ohio School Facilities Commission will provide $20 million. The citizens of LaBrae also recognized that while the new buildings are being constructed, and for the elementary schools that will remain, the renewal of a school building improvement levy was also necessary and passed it by an even wider margin, 1,446 to 967
Three Trumbull County school districts were asking for new money in last Tuesday's election. In Lordstown, where conditions had become critical, voters did pass a 6-mill additional levy for five years to avoid a $770,000 operating deficit. Lordstown's board and administration will need to prove that they can be good stewards of the public's latest investment in the school system.
Voter support: If Hubbard voters had not passed a 6.4-mill renewal levy and a 5.5-mill emergency levy, the school district would have been on its way to fiscal emergency. But citizens did put the children first and passed both measures. A 1-mill additional levy was also passed in Howland.
The Lakeview, Liberty, Southington and Warrren City school districts each saw their renewals passed, with the "yes" votes far exceeding the "nos."
In Mahoning County, only the Boardman and Western Reserve school districts had renewal levies on the ballot, and both passed better than 2 to 1, a strong vote of confidence for the administrations and school boards of the two districts.
It is rarely easy to take money out of one's own pocket when somebody else will decide how that money is to be spent. However, when residents support their schools, they see directly the results of their investments -- unlike payments made to state and federal government where the connection is more tenuous.
Every employee of a school district and every child who attends school should appreciate the faith that the taxpayers have in them and act accordingly.