Mahoning school levies split on ballot
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.