Thursday, May 10, 2001

Carlisle, Springboro districts lick their wounds


Levy failures move projects to back burner

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        Major summer improvement projects in the Carlisle and Springboro schools will be put on hold following defeats of money issues in Tuesday's election.

        Educators in both districts said Wednesday they are reviewing the ballot issues to see whether they should be modified.

        They said they would meet with their boards before deciding whether to resubmit permanent improvement levies to voters in both communities and a bond issue to Carlisle voters.

        “We have been running several financial scenarios,” said Springboro Superintendent David Baker.

        “We want to see how far out the money will take us. Next week I hope to have recommendations for the board.”

        In Springboro, voters approved renewal of 1.2-mill emergency operating levy but rejected a 2.14-mill permanent improvement levy.

        Had it passed, Mr. Baker said, the district probably would have begun roof repairs this summer and begun looking at the purchase of computers and textbooks.

        The biggest effect, however, is that fewer teachers will be hired for the upcoming school year, as class sizes likely increase.

        “We're using about $300,000 from the general fund for repairs and maintenance,” Mr. Baker said. “That money could have been used to hire teachers if we had a permanent improvement fund.”

        Carlisle Superintendent Dennis Hern said the biggest loss to the district is time. Had the $6.57 million bond issue and 2-mill permanent improvement levy passed, the district would have begun working on major projects.

        Most of the money was to be used to add classrooms at Alden R. Brown Elementary and the intermediate school, and to make major improvements at the other schools.

        “We will be OK this school year,” Mr. Hern said. “We wanted to be proactive and build in 2002 so we'd be ready in 2003. What's lost is the ... fixing. We could have started this summer.”

        Mr. Hern said he would recommend the issues be put back on the ballot.

        “The plan is a good one,” he said. “We'll do it (construction and repairs) whenever the community decides to give us the resources.”

        Contributing to the defeat, he theorized, were three factors: higher property taxes after reappraisals in 1997 and 2000; utility bills that doubled this winter compared to 2000, and gasoline prices approaching $2 a gallon.

       



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