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Canfield likely to slash tax levy request

CANFIELD — Voters will decide the fate of a bond levy for new schools on the November ballot, but the price tag will be slashed in half from what the district sought previously.

At its meeting last week, the Canfield Board of Education agreed a bond issue is needed but not on the exact amount. However, a figure of $50 million was discussed.

Last November, voters overwhelmingly rejected a 7.5-mill bond levy that would have brought in $105 million for a new middle school, new elementary school and renovations to the high school.

Superintendent Joe Knoll said deadlines are approaching for getting the issue on the ballot.

“We need to pass resolutions in June if we want to get something to our county auditor,” he said. “Also, what is the master plan going to be, and do we need a facility committee or a levy committee.”

Board President Nader Atway said new buildings are not the answer.

“We may have to fix some current structures.”

Board member Steve DeMaiolo added, “We need to prioritize, and that being the middle school. Then we can get a list of needed renovations (to the other buildings) and prioritize that.”

Board member Betsy Ahlquist said, “We need to show we listened to the voters. We can’t have another $100 million price tag of any sort.”

Resident Jason Henry, who served on a levy committee, wants to research why previous levy attempts failed.

“People from the levy committee understand the position you’re in,” Henry said. “I would like to see someone come in and find the reason the levy failed. We need to find a number the people will support.

“Also, the time is short. We only have three meetings before we must take the first step (for a levy).”

Knoll said new enrollment data is due in April and that number will be needed for the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. At present, commission funding for Canfield is at 17%, but Knoll said that number is good until October. Then the district can revise its plan and reapply for commission funds.

Knoll said the board requires a master plan and must decide if it needs a facility committee or a levy committee. Atway said the board has a target date of June. He said the facilities committee did its job, and he doesn’t see a need to start from scratch.

“Now is our target date,” Atway said. “So, levy committee, prepare to activate.”

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