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Struthers schools put levy on May ballot

STRUTHERS — The school board approved placing of a five-year, 2.8-mill permanent improvement levy to the May ballot to replace an expiring bond and facilities maintenance fund.

During a special meeting Tuesday, the board continued a discussion from August about how it plans to replace an expiring 2.3-mill bond and a 0.5-mill facilities maintenance fund that finances general maintenance of the buildings.

While the district is required to label the new levy as an “additional” levy on the ballot, Struthers City Schools Treasurer Ryan Cene said taxes should stay the same for residents if approved.

“Messaging is really important, because it’s really not additional,” Cene said.

A permanent improvement levy differs from an operating levy, and funds generated from a permanent improvement levy cannot be used to pay district operating expenses such as employee salaries and benefits. Ohio law describes a permanent improvement as any property, asset or improvement with an estimated life or usefulness of five years or more.

“We can’t get new buildings with this money, it’s just for maintaining the buildings we do have, so it’s not as flashy

as maybe a new bond where you’re building a new high school, but it’s important,” Cene said.

The levy discussion is still in its early stages according to Cene, and the board plans on hosting several community meetings between now and Election Day to answer questions and address concerns from taxpayers.

The board will continue discussion on the levy during its regular board meeting 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the board offices.

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