CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) — After two previous emergency additional levies failed last year, the Lakeview Local School District is once again turning to voters to generate new money for operating expenses.
After the two levies failed last year (10-years 6.8 mills in May 2022; 10-year 5.8 mills in November 2022), officials in the Lakeview Local School District are hoping the third time’s the charm. They’re seeking a 10-year 4.9 mills emergency additional levy to bring in new money for the district’s operating expenses.
“In the last three years, we have eliminated about $950,000 out of our budget, but it’s still not enough — we need an infusion of some more money,” said Velina Taylor, superintendent of Lakeview Local School district.
The district hasn’t had any new money for operating expenses since 2010. Treasurer Sean Miller said the district has been deficit spending for several years — and the current financial forecast shows a budget in the red in three years.
“If this levy doesn’t pass, we could go into fiscal caution or fiscal emergency — in which the state would send a commission in to take over the finances of a district. Along with that, they would take all the decision-making at the local level away,” Miller said.
The levy would generate a little bit more than $1.5 million per year for the district. Officials say even with the new money coming in, they still wouldn’t be able to bring everything they cut back.
“We’ll be able to get rid of the fees that we’ve put into place, and we’ll be able to do some other things and protect the programs that we still have in place,” Taylor said.
Miller said the district’s teachers are also among the lowest paid in the area.
“The new state budget just raised the minimum salary up to $35,000 for a starting teacher. We had to raise our salary schedules just to meet that, so our teachers weren’t even making state minimum,” Miller said. “If this passes, maybe we could increase their salaries a tiny bit.”
Taylor added in the last five years, Lakeview lost 18 teachers to other districts or higher paying jobs.
Should the levy pass, it would cost the owner of a home appraised at $100,000 an extra $172 per year.
“When you break that down, it’s just under 50 cents a day — so we think it’s a reasonable ask,” Miller said.