Thursday, January 30, 2003

Schools seeking renewal of levy

Springboro to vote Tuesday

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

SPRINGBORO - Taxes for residents of the Springboro Community Schools would not increase if voters approve a single ballot issue Tuesday that renews two, five-year emergency operating levies.

A $600,000 operating levy due to expire at the end of this year and a $1.4 million operating levy that expires at the end of 2004 would be combined into a single, five-year levy.

Together, the levies represent about 7.6 percent of the district's $26 million budget, said Treasurer Tim Dettwiller.

"This is the bread-and-butter levy, the basis to pay the teachers," said Springboro parent Thomas Skill, who is working toward renewal of the levy. "Renewal levies are paying your bills. We're not building anything new."

Assistant Superintendent Larry Hook said school officials decided to combine the levies so that "we don't have to keep coming back to the voters so often."

"It's easier to manage, more fiscally responsible and gives everybody a break," Hook said. "It allows school officials to concentrate on education."

If the levy fails, the district would lose $600,000 a year beginning in January 2004 and $1.4 million in January 2005. That could mean a hiring freeze, despite a growing enrollment that has increased by 972 students since 1998, bringing enrollment to 4,079, an increase of 57 students since the official October count, Hook said.

Projections call for the district to continue to grow by 300 or more students for the next several years, he added.

"If it passes, it allows us to go out to market and look for the best teachers in March and April when they're available," Hook said. "We want those superstar teachers for our kids."

Since 1951, all of the renewal levies put on the ballot have been approved, Hook said.

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