Written by By JENISE FOUTS Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 09 February 2010 09:57
NORTH BALTIMORE - For less than the cost of one specialty cup of coffee a week, voters in the North Baltimore Local School District will be able to keep it from facing a $1 million deficit in two years.
On the May ballot they will see a replacement 8.9-mil levy, which is not a new tax. In 1993 voters approved the original 8.9-mil continuing levy for operations, but it now collects only 4.65 mils. Approving the issue in spring will bring the value back up to its original voted millage.
During a special meeting of the North Baltimore Board of Education on Monday, members approved a resolution to submit a replacement of the 8.9-mil tax levy on the May ballot.
Interim Superintendent Marlene North read a statement explaining the need for the levy, noting the district is facing a $1 million deficit by the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
She said the staff is working with both the administration and the board to be responsible for almost $600,000 in cost savings and revenue production over the next two years, leaving the community to help raise $450,000.
If voters approve the replacement levy in May, "This would generate about $150,000 the first year of collection and $300,000 the next year, and every year thereafter, for a total of $450,000 over the two-year period."
The cost of the replacement levy to a homeowner of a $100,000 house is about $130 a year, $2.50 a week - less than the cost of one specialty cup of coffee - or 35 cents a day.
"Keep in mind if this levy passes in May, that during 2010 there will be no additional tax collected; during 2011 only half of the tax will be collected, and it will not have full collection until 2012," said North.
She added, "By the end of 2011-12, that collected amount will be what we're looking for to keep our district in shape."
Treasurer Eve Baldwin noted voters will not see the same replacement levy on the ballot again this year.
"We don't have three opportunities. We don't have two opportunities," agreed North. "This is it."
"For this year, yes," clarified Baldwin.
The board appointed Huntington Bank branch Manager Jaimye Bushey to fill the two-year vacancy on the board. She was immediately sworn in by Baldwin.
Bushey was one of seven people who indicated an interest in filling the vacancy created with the resignation of Holli Gray. After the meeting Bushey said being on the board was something she had thought about for a long time, but the timing wasn't right.
"(Now) the timing is right. There are a lot of exciting things going on in the district," she said. Being chosen for the board "is a big responsibility. I'm just excited to be part of it. There are a lot of good things in the process of happening."
Bushey's father, James Dean, was formerly superintendent of the North Baltimore School District in the 1970s, and her family is ready at the end of this school year to graduate its third senior from North Baltimore High School.
Jeff Ruch, an engineer from Engineers, Surveyors & Associates of Toledo, explained the company's work to split the 80-plus acres purchased for construction of the new grades 6-12 building. With the board's permission, the company will file an application with Wood County to split the new school site into 58 acres for the building, athletic fields and a storm water retention area, and exempted from taxes, leaving a second parcel of 22.34 acres which can be farmed. The district will pay taxes on the land, but it will also bring in income if it is rented out for farming.
The board is accepting bids per acre from any farmer wishing to use the land for crops. Bids will be considered at an upcoming meeting. Interested farmers can contact the school district at (419) 257-3531.