Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Princeton takes levy off ballot

Vote possible in August

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SHARONVILLE — After voting last month to place a tax issue on the May ballot, the Princeton school board voted 4-1 Monday to reverse itself and take the issue off the ballot.

        The vote came nearly a week after a group of residents recommended the board reconsider placing the issue on the May ballot, and try instead in August.

        The board must vote by May 20 to get an issue on the August ballot, district officials said.

        “There is a growing concern that the board is not together and that will be very harmful to the levy, so the board felt it should be delayed from May and try to get unity from all five members,” Superintendent Dennis Peterson said.

        Voters must pass a levy this year to avoid possible budget cuts in the 2000-2001 school year, district officials have said.

        Monday's vote reduces the number of chances to do that.

        “It makes it more uncertain when the district will have new revenue to avoid making budget reductions,” Mr. Peterson said.

        In November, voters defeated a 6.5-mill levy that was expected to raise about $10 million annually to meet expenses. Without it, the district may be forced to cut $5 million from the 1999-2000 budget.

        “We want to make the right decision, and of course we don't want (the levy) to fail again,” said board president Martha Iskyan. “We are here to see to it that our boys and girls get what they need.”

        Last month, a 22-member task force recommended cuts that could eliminate teaching positions, staff, reduce instructional materials and charge student fees.

        The board has yet to decide what cuts, if any, will be made.

        Board members had approved a 4.95-mill tax levy to raise money for general operating expenses.

        The levy would have generated roughly $7 million a year, and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $151 in new taxes, according to the district.

        The next step for the board will be to take some time to answer questions from the community regarding the levy, Mrs. Iskyan said.

        “There needs to be a lot of work done to work with people who are negative and not supportive of a levy at this point to get them to understand how important this is,” Mr. Peterson said.


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