Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Finneytown schools urge OK of Nov. 6 levy to avoid deficit

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP — The Finneytown Board of Education says a 7.95-mill operating levy on the Nov. 6 ballot is needed to overcome a looming deficit and also for such improvements as having a full-time guidance counselor for all three elementary schools.

        Adding a third elementary counselor is one of three improvements that would be made with the $1.4 million the levy would raise each year if approved. Right now, two counselors serve children in the three buildings. Employing a social worker and increasing the hours for the district's single part-time nurse would be possible only with more money, said Dave Olivereo, the district's treasurer.

        Without additional money, the district is facing a $250,000 deficit projected for the 2002-03 school year.

        “We want to maintain low student-teacher ratios and continue to supplement our permanent improvement levy to do preventative maintenance on our buildings,” Mr. Olivereo said.

        It is the first time since 1992 voters are being asked to increase their taxes for daily operation of the schools. Since then, inflation has increased costs by 26 percent and the district has reopened Brent Elementary School, Mr. Olivereo said.

        Enrollment during that same period has increased from 1,692 students in 1992 to about 1,836 this, or 8.5 percent.

        Five years ago, Steve Linder moved to Finneytown, largely because of the schools. He is happy with the quality of education his two children are receiving and is co-chairing the Citizens for Finneytown Schools group with Celeste Jenkins. The group is working to pass the levy.

        “My children — like the others in the district — are getting a good, well-rounded experience. The community of Finneytown is built around the schools,” Mr. Linder said.

        Mr. Linder said there is no organized opposition to the levy that he knows of. But Finneytown voters will also be voting on whether to increase taxes for the Springfield Township police and fire departments.

        To get the school's message out, fliers are being distributed, about 1,000 signs are being placed, and a 20-by 8-foot banner is draped across a silo in view of the football stadium. On Nov. 2, parents and teachers will form a human chain — Hands Across Finneytown — in support of the levy when they line up along Winton Road, near Galbraith Road. Wearing pro-levy T-shirts and carrying signs, the group will be on the road from about 4:30 to 6 p.m., Mr. Linder said.


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