BY Peter H. MILLIKEN
Mahoning County’s public schools were big winners in Tuesday’s election.
All six real-estate tax levies that were put on the ballot by four Mahoning County school districts passed in unofficial election results.
In Boardman, a renewal levy won easily by a 60.5 percent to 39.5 percent margin, but a replacement levy won by just four votes and was headed for an automatic recount.
Under state election law, a recount is automatic if the margin of victory is half a percent or less of the votes cast.
In Poland, a renewal levy won by 65.35 percent to 34.65 percent.
In Springfield, a bond issue to build a new elementary school passed by a 61-to-39 percent margin.
In the Jackson-Milton district, a 4-9-mill renewal and an 0.9-mill renewal both passed by a 57-to-43 percent margin.
Boardman schools asked voters to renew a 5.9-mill operating levy for five years and to approve a 1.6-mill five-year replacement levy for permanent improvements.
The operating levy, which generates $4,643,763 annually, pays for utilities, salaries and other operating costs.
“I’m very pleased with the voters of Boardman. They have shown that they have confidence in the Boardman schools and the programs that we have and the student achievement that we have shown,” said Frank Lazzeri, schools superintendent. “Winning by 20 percentage points on a renewal is typical for this type of levy,” he added. The school district is rated academically excellent.
Boardman’s permanent improvement levy was put before the voters to replace an earlier tax, whose value has been $821,219 a year and would add $480,000 annually to that figure to pay for security upgrades.
“In this post-Sandy Hook, post-Chardon climate that we’re in, we need to tighten security in our schools,” Lazzeri said, adding the levy was designed to improve security in all seven buildings.
The Poland schools were successful in getting voters to renew for five years a 6.2-mill operating levy that raises $2,297,755 a year.
In a combined measure, Springfield schools asked voters to approve a 2-mill, 37-year additional bond issue for school construction and a 0.5-mill, 23-year additional levy for maintenance.
Voters had defeated that measure in November.
“We’re so appreciative of the community and the grass-roots efforts of the [levy] committee,” Debra Mettee, schools superintendent, said of the bond issue’s passage.
“We appreciate the fact that our community members on fixed incomes supported our efforts, because without them, it would not have passed,” she said.
The primary goal in Springfield has been to replace a 1923-vintage elementary school rated by the Ohio School Facilities Commission as the seventh-worst school building in the state with a new $12.3 million building, and that goal will now be realized, Mettee said.
The bond issue will pay 52 percent of the new building’s cost, with the state paying the rest.
In the Jackson-Milton schools, voters renewed for five years a 4.9-mill levy to avoid an operating deficit, and a 0.9-mill permanent improvement levy.