BG eyes levy options PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor   
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 10:06
With the defeat earlier this month of an income tax request, Bowling Green Board of Education members are being asked to consider putting a new property tax on the ballot in 2013.
At Tuesday's meeting, Treasurer Rhonda Melchi presented the board with different options to raise necessary funds to keep the district in the black, at least through the end of fiscal year 2015.
She presented options from 3 mills to 6.5 mills, at half-mill increments, and the subsequent amount each would raise. She also gave the ending cash balance, for each option, for each of the next four years.
She pointed out it would take 5.5 mills to keep the district solvent through June 30, 2015. That rate would raise $3,215,246 during fiscal year 2015, which encompasses the 2014-15 school year.
It would cost a resident with a home appraised at $150,000, $252.66 per year.
A levy of that size also would give the district a cash balance of $101,363 at the end of the 2014-15 year. That's the lowest millage to give the district carry-over funds at the end of that year of the eight options given. But even with a 5.5-mill levy, the district would be facing a $1.5 million deficit at the end of fiscal year 2016.
Melchi ruled out trying again for an income tax, noting that none of the three options - a 0.25 percent, 0.50 percent and 0.75 percent - would keep the district out of the red for fiscal year 2015.
The district's request to increase its income tax collection by 0.75 percent failed Nov. 6.
Melchi did not give a recommendation to the board, merely stating she was providing information for them to consider.
She also noted that the district's 4.2-mill property tax expires in December 2015 as does a $1 million emergency levy. The district's 0.50 income tax expires at the end of 2017.
Board President Eric Myers suggested the district set a public meeting for early December to get input on the options. No date was set Tuesday. After that, the board could take the first step toward placing a tax issue on the May ballot at its regular December meeting.
"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when and how much," Myers said later in the meeting.
Superintendent Ann McVey took a few minutes to thank all the community members, employees and district officials who donated time and money for the levy campaign.
Of the 15,695 people in the district who cast a ballot Nov. 6, 14,464 voted on the school's levy issue, she shared. "We very much appreciate the 6,984 members of our community that supported the levy. Our challenge and our goal is to talk with as many of the 7,662 individuals as we can to gain insight into  why they decided against the levy," she stated.
Since 2004, the district has cut 48.5 employees, or 15 percent, all through attrition. And 29 were teaching positions cut since 2009.
"And we have continued to achieve a rating of Excellent or Excellent with Distinction," she stated. "We are doing more with less."                                             
"We are not a one-size fits all public school," McVey said before pointing out the number of electives, clubs and organizations, and inter-scholastic athletic teams that are available to Bowling Green students.
The district will review all of its expenses.
"We know that is what our public is telling us to do," McVey stated.
"We can't continue to cut our way out of our financial needs," Melchi noted.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, architect Kent Buehrer gave the board an update on the Crim Elementary expansion project. He said it was nearly done, with a punch list scheduled for Monday, and the addition ready for move-in the following week.
Both Martha Fether, principal at Kenwood Elementary, and Joe Zabowski, principal at the middle school, commented on the Veterans Day programs in the buildings. Zabowski said of 100 veterans invited to his building, 86 showed up including 14 World War II veterans.
Todd Cramer, executive director of teaching and learning in the district, also said a $7,000 donation would be used to hire middle school and high school students to help tutor elementary-aged youngsters.
The board also recognized members of the middle school volleyball team, which earned the NLL league championship title; and the boys and girls soccer teams, which each were sectional champions and district finalists.
Members also accepted $1,150 in donations for the Ridge Elementary camp fund to help send kids to camp who otherwise couldn't afford it.

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