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Mahoning school levies split on ballot

Published: Wed, November 6, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Denise Dick



Mahoning County voters approved a school levy in one community, while rejecting one in another.

Canfield voters OK’d that district’s five-year, 5.9-mill additional operating levy with 50 percent of votes cast in favor and 49.6 percent against, according to unofficial vote totals from the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

South Range voters, though, turned down that district’s 10-year, 4.8-mill additional levy with 34 percent of voters in favor and 66 percent against.

Leo Daprile, co-chairman of the Committee to Support Canfield Schools, said the committee is thankful to the Canfield community for having the confidence to invest in the future of the schools.

The levy will generate $3,247,378 annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $200 annually.

The money generated will be used to restore busing within the district, increase course offerings, implement all-day kindergarten, update safety and security in all schools and eliminate the pay-to-participate program.

This marks a victory after three straight levy losses for the district.

Canfield last passed a levy in 2002. The district asked for a 6.8-mill operating-levy in both November 2010 and May 2011, but both failed. Those levies would have brought in $3.6 million annually.

In November 2011, residents turned down a 4.9-mill operating-levy, which would have brought in about $2 million.

After the losses, the district eliminated high school busing, adjusted school fees and laid off more than 40 school employees to show the community additional revenue was needed.

Superintendent Alex Geordan said this time the district ran a positive, transparent campaign, telling community members exactly how their money would be spent.

“This levy will raise $3 million,” he said. “That’s very humbling, and we’re very appreciative of that.”

Door-to-door transportation will be restored for kindergarten through fourth-grade students and transportation for high school students will be offered from centralized pickup spots.

As far as expanded course offerings, Geordan said more Advanced Placement and College in High School courses would be offered for high school students as well as more courses for middle school students.

That will improve rigor for students and help the district meet its vision statement to be ranked in the top 10 in Ohio by 2017.

“That’s our goal and our mission and we intend to get there,” Geordan said.

South Range Superintendent Dennis Dunham couldn’t be reached.

In West Branch, district voters resoundingly rejected a continuous 0.75 percent additional income tax that would have raised $1.95 million annually. Unofficial vote totals in Mahoning and Columbiana counties show the tax being defeated by a 3-to-1 margin.


1lumper(281 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

the real truth is that the money will go towards an overgenerous pension match program and equally overgenerous health insurance. the school board will hire new people with connections.

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2walter_sobchak(1847 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I am surprised that the Canfield levy passed. The State of Ohio is under a Supreme Court order to change the funding mechanism for schools by reducing the need for property taxes on homeowners. I will keep voting against these levies until it hurts. Excessive pensions, unrealistic healthcare coverage, unneeded busing, etc. How about the Canfield teachers taking only a 2% raise instead of a 3% raise a few years ago and calling it a 1% pay cut to try to deceive the voters to pass a levy. They got their money anyway. My favorite is driving by one of the school bus stops on Callahan Drive in the morning and there are four cars with kids waiting for the bus! Here's a suggestion - drive them to the school!

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3gdog4766(1401 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Why don't you people react like this when Kasich cuts funding causing these levies? Hey Walt what say you take a pay and benefits cut at whatever place you work? I'm sure you will eloquently bloviate as to how that shouldn't happen. But before wanting to harm the people who school our children think first. The only reason these people appear to be so over paid is because the rescumlicans have succeeded in driving all other wages down or shipped the jobs overseas. A family of four now earns less then in 1989, justify that.

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4walter_sobchak(1847 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Since the construction industry, to which I am allied, has not fared well in the last 5 years, I have not had a pay increase. Now, I'm sure that my HC insurance is more expensive so my net is less! But, what I earn has nothing to do with what the teachers are compensated! This problem goes back farther than our current governor, who has turned the state finances around. The Nov 2010 levy went down and Kasich wasn't even the governor. In May 2011, he had only been in office about 4 months. Care to explain how you can blame Kasich for that? Now, I'm no fan of his support for charter schools but the point is missed. The funding mechanism needs changed. Districts must be consolidated so that economies of scale can be achieved. The STRS needs changed and retire/rehire must end.

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5gdog4766(1401 comments)posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Loved you in singing in the rain. Your skill at tap dancing is fantastic. In construction, tell your employer to pay you less that way we won't have to pay as much for anything you help construct right. Kasich hasn't turned the states finances around he has simply cut as much funding as he can to schools and local communities then thumped his chest and brayed about his savings. Meanwhile we are stuck with the same state taxes and increased local taxes. I want well paid, qualified teachers handling my kids, not someone who took the low paying job out of desperation. Kasich like all the scum of his ilk escaped being indicted for his role at Lehman Brothers now we are stuck with him.

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