Tallmadge -- On Nov. 5, voters will decide whether to approve a 10-year, 7.55-mill, renewal levy for the Tallmadge City School District.
If passed, the emergency operating levy will raise $2.867 million each year for expenses for the duration of the levy, as opposed to a standard operating levy that generates additional money each year based on new construction within the school district, according to Treasurer Jeff Hostetler.
As the renewal levy isn't a new levy, it wouldn't impose additional taxes on property owners.
The renewal, which would start collecting Jan. 1, 2015, would be one of the three active renewals that help fund the school district. It would extend the original five-year, 6.9-mill levy voters authorized in 2009 that's due to expire at the end of 2014.
The money raised would be used to pay for daily operational expenses of the school district, including salaries, utilities, repairs, supplies and equipment.
"This renewal levy represents 12 percent of our operating budget and is critical to our ongoing operations," Hostetler said. "These are dollars that the district has been operating with for the past five years and to have them taken out of the budget would have a huge negative impact on the education of our students."
In his presentation of the school district's five-year forecast to the School Board Oct. 16, Hostetler said if the renewal levy fails, the district's finances will suffer: a $3.7 million balance at the end of fiscal year 2018 would become a $6.3 million deficit.
The other two active renewal levies, a 7.5-mill levy for operations and a 1.25-mill for permanent improvements, are set to expire two years after this one.
If voters defeat this renewal, Hostetler said the school district will put it on the ballot again this spring.
"The community has been very supportive when it comes to the schools, and it is my hope that the trend continues," he said.
School Board member Valorie Prulhiere said the school district administration recently worked with two employee labor unions on new contracts that help the school district administration and union members anticipate salary increases and health care contributions. She hopes the school district and the community continue to work together regarding passing the renewal.
"The partnership that we have with the community is so important to the health and sustainability of the district," Prulhiere told the school administration during the forecast presentation. "For all the great conservatism we have, for all of the great fiscal management you provide, for the great teaching and the great partnership we have with everybody here, that third partnership is the community, and they're so important for survival."
Ferguson said if the levy continues to fail throughout the calendar year of 2014, the school district would have to consider reducing its operating budget, which is funded by the general fund. Staff is a significant part of that budget, he said.
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