September 2, 2014

Elyria
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Midview Schools placing levy on February ballot

EATON TWP. — The Midview school board voted Wednesday to put a 9.75-mill property tax levy before voters in a special election in February after voters defeated a combined earned income tax and property tax on Tuesday.

The 9.75-mill property tax on the February ballot would raise $4.6 million a year for 10 years, said Superintendent John Kuhn.

He said board members chose the 9.75-mill figure because the district did not want to have to return to voters with a request for more money for a number of years.

Kuhn said he will begin planning to make extensive cuts beginning in the spring if the tax does not pass.

In recent weeks, Midview Schools received a letter from the state asking what steps would be taken by the district to avoid a $2.4 million deficit in the 2013-14 school year and bigger deficits beyond that period, Kuhn said.

The district could be placed on fiscal watch if it is unable to make cuts or bring in new revenue, the superintendent said.

Even if the 9.75-mill tax passes in February, the district would not begin collecting the money until 2014, Kuhn said, and the projected deficits would grow in the meantime.

It has been 19 years since voters approved new money for the Midview district.

Kuhn said the cost of varsity pay-to-play for athletics is $550, and fees for athletics and extracurricular activities would likely increase to cover the full cost of the programs if the levy fails in February. He said booster groups also could be asked for help to keep programs running.

The combination levy presented to voters Tuesday failed 5,723 to 3,606, or 61 percent to 39 percent, according to unofficial election returns.

The combined 0.75 percent income tax and a 3.5-mill property tax would have raised $4.2 million a year for the district.

Kuhn said Midview operates frugally — spending $3,000 less than the state average to educate its students. In Lorain County, only the Avon Schools spent less per student than Midview in 2010-11, the latest year for which data are available.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.