Poland voters will decide on additional levy in May

By Ashley Luthern



Voters will see an additional Poland school levy on the May ballot, six months after a 3.9-mill, five-year additional emergency levy failed.

The school board voted Monday to place an additional five-year levy for the spring election that would generate about $1.8 million annually for the district. The exact millage still has to be certified by the Mahoning County auditor, but it likely will be around 4.9 mills, said David Bennett, school board president.

The additional levy that voters rejected earlier this month would have generated $1.5 million annually. At Monday’s meeting, Bennett said some people questioned the latest millage increase.

“My answer to that would be that when we put the 3.9-mill levy on, we really tried to be as conservative as possible because we weren’t exactly sure — and still are not sure — of the changes in state and federal funding. We really low-balled it, hoping we wouldn’t get the worst case scenario,” Bennett said.

The board already has authorized cuts for the 2011-12 school year that include no new textbooks, library books, equipment and buses, he added.

“Among other things, we’ll cut materials and supplies and do other things like reduce the rental of the gym because those rentals are not cost-effective. We will repair only what must be repaired,” Bennett said.

Superintendent Robert Zorn had previously discussed what would happen if the 3.9-mill levy failed.

Under state law, schools in Ohio are required to submit financial forecasts every six months to the state, Zorn said.

Once that is submitted, the state tracks it, and the school board must have a plan for keping the school district budget balanced, he added.

“If the levy goes down, the state of Ohio will require the school board to resubmit the budget, because they’ll say how can you be solvent and sound?” Zorn said last month.

“There are only two ways. You have state aid and local aid. State aid isn’t going up. If voters vote it down, they [the state] will require it be put back on and on and on.”

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