Elections

Several local school levies on November ballot fail

The districts will be forced to make cuts moving forward after these losses

(WKBN) - Several local school districts will be forced to make cuts as voters shot down many issues on the ballot.

SEE ELECTION RESULTS

The following levies failed on Tuesday:

  • Beaver Local Schools (renewal levy)
  • Crestview Schools (bond issue)
  • West Branch income tax
  • Bristol Schools (additional levy to improve security)
  • Brookfield Schools (improvement levy)
  • Niles Schools (continuous substitute levy)
  • Southington Schools (renewal)

All of those school districts had classes on Wednesday. Education continues, but school leaders are already making some tough decisions.

Crestview Superintendent Matthew Manley points to numbers that were presented to voters in the district. Rebel Nation came within 101 votes of a new building and the state check was in his office.

“We are putting so much money into repairs. We are at a crossroads. Where do we go?” Manley said.

Heating repairs were $188,000 the past three years, and replacement parts for other repairs are a challenge when some components date back 61 years.

“When you drive by, the buildings look great. If you walk the hall, they shine. The difficulty is the heart of the building – what’s underneath,” Manley said.

It's been 28 years since Crestview has had a levy. The state has a fancy ratio which determined it's better to build new than repair. Crestview still has two more opportunities before the state help goes away.

“The worst thing is you have all these repairs that need to be done and you have no help,” Manley said. “We have a helping source at 88 cents on the dollar.”

West Branch voters turned down an earned income tax to support the schools and within a week the district will make changes. Superintendent Timothy Saxton said the first thing his board has authorized him to do is institute pay to play.

 A performance audit by the state auditor suggested reducing general fund spending on extra curriculars - and another big change is ahead.

“Come January, we are most likely not going to have bussing for high school students,” Saxton said.

Saxton said a ride to school will be for those living within two miles of the high school.

An updated financial forecast for the district showed little improvement. Still, $800,000 behind this year and over $1 million next year.

“We have to start off subtly. We are trying to do some things that are far away from kids that don’t impact instruction,” Saxton said.

Neither school district has decided if the issues are ready to go back on the ballot. They're assessing the results, and listening to determine if they can get the message across better that these are investments in the school district and the community.

Across the state, the Ohio School Boards Association said overall, 69 percent -- 121 out of 175 -- of school tax issues were approved.


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