Boardman Township voters will see a new school levy on the May primary ballot
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Township voters will see a new school levy on the May primary ballot.
The school board on Monday had a second and final reading of a resolution to put the issue on the ballot. It will ask voters to approve a 5.8-mill, 10-year emergency levy that would generate $4.9 million per year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $17 per month, according to the school district.
“I think if we get the right breaks and have the right message ... we’ll be successful in May,” board president Jeff Barone said. “We’re going to ask the community to revisit their emotional investment in this town. And that starts with the schools.”
School district officials have pointed to factors that have put the district in a difficult financial situation. The district is poised to have a spending deficit of $3.4 million by the end of the fiscal year.
One of the biggest factors, according to school officials, is the way Boardman schools receive funding from the state. District Treasurer Nick Ciarniello has said the state caps Boardman’s funding at about $3.8 million less than it would expect to receive.
Officials said this is due to the high number of commercial and residential properties in the township, making the district property-tax rich by the state’s standards and thus able to raise tax dollars locally. Households in the township, however, are not income-rich.
Officials also cited the phasing out of tangible personal property tax revenues as another factor. In 2012, the district received $3.4 million from that tax, but next year will receive nothing, according to district officials.
The recent reclassification of St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital’s second tower as tax exempt increased the urgency on the budget issues, officials said.
The district in September had to refund nearly $1 million of tax revenue it previously had received from the hospital.
Officials said cost-saving measures are being implemented, such as plans to cut 12 positions this year through attrition.
In other business, Superintendent Tim Saxton thanked board members for their work in honor of School Board Recognition Month.
“Working with this board has been an absolute pleasure,” he said.