By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
The Friends of Boardman Schools committee launched its campaign to support the emergency levy the school board has on the November ballot.
The theme of the campaign is “Keep Boardman Excellent,” said committee co-chair Jeff Barone at the board of education’s meeting Monday.
“We see the school system as the centerpiece of the community,” he said.
The committee plans to work hard to get the word out about the need for the levy, said Vince Bevacqua, the committee’s communications director.
“We know that people probably don’t really appreciate the extent of the financial problems here in the district,” he said. “They look from the outside and they see great education, they see the academics are up, they see a 300-kid band — they see all these wonderful things and think the schools are functioning just fine, and the truth is we’ve lost a great deal of money over the last 10 years.”
Once community members are aware of the facts, however, he feels confident they will vote yes.
“I think people are very receptive,” he said. “I think they understand it’s a small investment to maintain the excellence.”
The school district has been rated excellent 10 out of the last 12 years, added Barone.
“We’ve elected these school board members to represent the community and they, along with our teachers, have done a fantastic job stretching a levy from 2003 that was supposed to last five years to last nine years and eight months,” he said. “And for those reasons I think they’ve earned our support on this levy.”
The levy would generate about $3.1 million annually. In the last two years, the district has lost $2.66 million in personal property tax money and state funding. Without the levy, the board projects a deficit of more than $3.5 million by the end of 2015.
Voters last approved a new school levy in 2003.