Failure prompts weighing of options

The district will lose $123,000 annually.
COLUMBIANA -- School officials will discuss strategy at the Columbiana Board of Education meeting tonight after voters defeated the district's permanent improvement levy for a third time.
"We're back to Square One tomorrow," schools Superintendent Patricia Hura said as she began calling board members and other school officials Tuesday evening from the Columbiana County Board of Elections.
The board meets at 6 tonight at the high school.
Hura said that with the latest defeat, the district will lose the $123,000 generated annually when the levy expires in December.
Tuesday election
The special election was Tuesday in the school district's precincts in both Columbiana and Mahoning counties and was the only item on the special election ballot in both counties.
Voters nixed the 1.6-mill request with 486 votes for and 610 against.
Hura said voters in Mahoning County hit hard with 51 for and 148 against.
Voters also defeated the levy in the May primary and in a special election in February.
Hura said the board may consider seeking a renewal rather than replacement, the former generating less money. But the need for the full amount has not diminished, she said.
"Naturally we are disappointed, but we are thankful for those who do support us," she said. "The needs are still there and we have to tackle this as best we can."
The permanent improvement levy now in effect was first passed in 1982. Due to increased property values, the 1.6 mills originally passed has been reduced, and 0.9 mills is now being collected, she said.
A replacement levy rather than a renewal would generate the $210,000 per year rather than $123,000 because it would set the millage back to 1.6 mills, she explained.
Athletic complex
Hura said levy proponents continue to emphasize that no taxpayer money is being used to build the athletic complex behind the South Side Middle School.
Hura said the permanent improvement levy revenue can only be used for textbook or school bus purchases or upkeep of district facilities.
Repair and replacement of roofs at Joshua Dixon Elementary and South Side Middle School, for example, cost the district nearly $200,000, Hura said.
Five of the district's nine school buses are 10 years old or more, with the oldest a 1983 model, she said.

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