Canfield voters to decide on two levies

By Kristine Gill


Canfield schools will try again in May to pass a 6.8-mill operating levy.

The board of education has approved two resolutions to place both an operating levy and a renewal levy on the ballot.

Board President Brian Kesner has high hopes both will win voter approval.

“We’re going to try to inform the citizenry to give back to them exactly what they need to know, and once they have that information, I’m confident it will pass,” Kesner said.

The first resolution places on the ballot a five-year, 1.6-mill emergency renewal levy first approved by voters in 1986. This renewal will not add new taxes, the board said. It would continue to generate $890,000 annually. It was last renewed five years ago.

The second resolution places a five-year, additional, 6.8-mill operating levy before voters that would generate $3.8 million annually. The owner of a $100,000 home will pay $17.35 a month for this operating levy, should it be approved.

“The board of education and administrators and staff and the committee will work very hard to explain and hold public forums and offer information that might help the community members understand the need,” Superintendent Dante Zambrini said.

An additional operating levy of the same millage failed in November by a vote of 3,653 to 5,097.

“Once the levy in November went down, it was a sign from the voters that they wanted us to tighten things up,” Kesner said. “And we already run a lean ship. I’ve always been proud that we do more with less here, but the voters weren’t comfortable with what was happening.”

The board members endorsed the superintendent and business manager’s recommendations to reduce ranks by 14 educators and 11 classified employees.

There are now 198 teachers and 104 classified staff, which includes positions such as cafeteria workers. There are 32 bus drivers.

Staff cuts will save an estimated $1.2 million and will be permanent since the district did not receive new revenue in the calendar year 2011.

“I honestly have no idea who those people are,” Kesner said of the 25 people who will be cut.

In addition, the district will realize a reduction of $300,000 through cuts in supply and equipment budgets as well as in savings through the Energy Education program.

Other cost-saving measures were reviewed.

Kesner said the board likely will schedule separate meetings from the monthly board meetings to have open forums for voters to answer any questions.

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