Canfield school board seeks 4.9-mill levy

By Christine Keeling


Canfield voters will be asked in November to decide for or against a new school levy, to generate $2,751,914 a year.

The Canfield Board of Education voted 4-1 Friday in favor of placing a five-year, 4.9-mill levy on the ballot.

The board had also considered 3.9-mill and 5.9-mill levies.

This 4.9-mill issue is almost 2 mills less than the 6.8-mill levy voters rejected in May. It will cost homeowners $8.68 a month per $100,000 of their home’s value, or $104.16 per $100,000 a year.

The total out-of-pocket expense a homeowner would pay to the district would lessen to $6.13 per $100,000, after the first year, when an existing 1998 bond expires.

Superintendent Dante Zambrini said the district is in a different place now, and could ask for less because of the more than $3.6 million in cuts already made.

Phase one of personnel cuts made up $1.2 million in savings.

Enacting pay to play, eliminating busing for high school students, and classified-personnel cuts in phase two saved the district $548,500 and contract concessions by the district’s unions totaled $1.9 million.

“If people ask if we tightened our belt, yes,” said Zambrini. “We have documentation showing where we’ve tightened our belt.”

The school district’s operating expenses exceeded the district’s revenue by $1.2 million last year.

Passage of a 4.9-mill levy would not bring back busing to high school students or get rid of pay to play, said Zambrini. But failure of the levy would result in cuts to core academics, he said.

“We’re trying to stop the bleeding before we have to cut core academics,” said Zambrini.

Larger class sizes and eliminating subjects were examples given by the superintendent.

Core academics include math, science, social studies, English and language arts.

Board member Craig Olson said he came into the meeting not wanting to ask voters for more money.

“I think people in the community don’t want us to cut academics,” said Olson, before he voted yes.

Board vice president Adrianne Sturm said she completely supported the board’s decision to place a levy on the ballot. She said her “no” vote was cast because she wanted more time to consider it.

Zambrini suggested that Facebook and Twitter be used during the campaign so the community can be kept informed.

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