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School District: Passing a New Levy is 'Critical'

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Clarification: With treasurer Rick Berdine's , the district is facing a $9.9 million shortfall through fiscal year 2016.

It’s no secret that the will need to ask voters to pass a new school levy in 2013.

Through fiscal year 2016, the district is facing a — the result of several factors, including massive state cuts and dropping home values.

Superintendent Jeffrey Patterson said recently that the last levy — passed by Lakewood voters in 2010 — has been “negated by the state cuts."

School officials are getting ready to ask voters to pass another levy.

What’s not yet known is how many mills the district will seek from voters.

Christine Gordillo, the district’s spokeswoman, said the district will likely conduct a community survey “to determine what the tolerance level of the community is for various levels of millage.”

“The board then takes that into consideration when it decides the millage,” she added.

Rick Berdine, the district’s treasurer, who’s expected to step down at the end of the month, called the passage of the 2013 levy “critical.”

He noted that the survey was helpful getting the 2010 levy passed.

“There was discussion that it would take 12.9 mills to continue operating the district in the same manner as was occurring at that time,” he said, “but it was never viewed by anyone as a realistic, supportable request to place before the community.”

Berdine said that 12 mills would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $395 per year in additional taxes. 

The current 6.9 mills costs the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $211 per year in additional taxes, he said. 

“I am not sure what to think about taxpayer sentiment to acceptable millage amounts,” Berdine said. “I do know that 6.9 mills has become a somewhat common millage amount, but the decision as to when to go on the ballot and millage amount is a board decision.”

Alexandra June 10, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Ouch, I already pay a lot. Good reason to lure new business to Lakewood!
Linda June 10, 2012 at 03:07 PM
What are doing with the closed schools? Why don't they have a plan to get rid of them before asking for money for the residents. I will not vote to give more money until I see a plan to get rid of the property and the buildings. That would gain the district the money they need. Where is the plan??
Judy Fesko June 10, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I wish people would realize that strong schools = strong community. Yes, we pay a lot of taxes, but since there is no big industry here in Lakewood, that is to be expected. Lakewood Schools are a big drawing card for this community, and whatever is needed to keep them vibrant and healthy is OK in my book!
chris olszewski June 10, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I agree with Linda. Let's see a plan that includes what will happen to these empty schools. Sell the property to allow new businesses to come in. Whether we like the new businesses or not we have to face the reality that we need revenue. The teachers took payouts and made health insurance sacrifices but what about administration? I demand to know the sacrifices they made. Did they forego their pick up of their retirement? Did they make a sacrifice to pay for their healthcare? Did they take a true pay freeze? This all stinks. I have voted for every tax levy in my adult life in Lakewood. I will not vote for this one. No way
chris olszewski June 10, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Excuse me, I meant to say the teachers took PAYCUTS
Tricia June 10, 2012 at 04:32 PM
The teachers already took a big cut and the administers took NOTHING! And now you ask us for more money! I think NOT! Who ever is in charge of the school budget isn't doing a good job and we need someone new in that position. We pay a lot of taxes already!
chris olszewski June 10, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Also. As irrelevant and dated that this may sound the West End Project may have been worth the sacrifice
chris olszewski June 10, 2012 at 04:59 PM
To Judy. Our baseline population is shrinking. Our average population is aging. Less students and more money isn't adding up. I wonder if this levy includes the money to finish the construction of the high school???
The original Bill June 10, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Chris this levy would have nothing at all to do with school construction. That would be a separate bond issue. The 3rd of 3 for the school reconstruction. I'm not sure when the timetable is for that issue.
Brandon Scullion June 11, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I don't have any kids and I would vote in favor. We need to make sure we have the best schools.
The original Bill June 11, 2012 at 12:46 AM
My children are far removed from the city schools but I own my home here in Lakewood and I know that good school system will help the value of my home. I will vote for the levy as well as the bond issue to finish the reconstruction. You can't blame Lakewood Schools for the axe man Kasich cutting Millions from the schools. All you people who voted for Kasich had to know this was coming.
Bill on Warren June 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Learn how to spend the money wisely. Just throwing more money into the system will not solve the problem of wasteful spending. At what point do we say enough is enough! OK, I'll say it! Enough is enough! I will not support another levy no matter how many mills it is!!!!
chris olszewski June 11, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I still want the school board to address the administration compensation packages. How come no one in this forum is questioning what the administrators are or are not giving up
Evan Hammersmith June 11, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I'm in for about 2 mills. When teachers are switched to a 401K like the rest of us, we can talk about more mills. I have no issue with teacher salaries, but the retirement pension needs a changin'.
Tim Torrence June 11, 2012 at 05:44 PM
So you are happy that you pay taxes to the state of Ohio and they take that money and distribute it to Sandusky and Marrietta? Of course people in Sandusky and Marrietta pay taxes that come to our school district too. Why not just jack up your local taxes and cut out the middle man instead of filtering it through state and federal governments?

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