October 2, 2014

Elyria
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51°F
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MIDVIEW LEVY: Passions deep for backers, opponents

GRAFTON TWP. — Several voters for and against the Midview Schools levy expressed strong emotions Tuesday after voting at Township Hall.

Ann Marie and Mark Gallo of Grafton said they voted no on the 10-year, 9.75-mill property tax levy, which will raise $4.6 million annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $300 yearly. The Gallos said their home is valued at about $330,000, meaning the levy, which was overwhelmingly approved, will cost them about $930 more annually.

“Even though we don’t have children in them, we support the schools, but it’s just too much to ask for,” Ann Marie Gallo said.

Steven Fialkowski, 65, of Grafton, said his home is valued at about $200,000, meaning an extra $600 in taxes annually. Fialkowski, a crane repairman, said he could afford the extra cost. Fialkowski said his three children and a grandchild graduated from Midview, and the extra taxes are worth it to support other children.

“Everybody needs an education,” he said.

Jason Kriegmont, 40, and his wife, Janet Kriegmont, 42, of Grafton, said they reluctantly voted yes. While Midview Schools leaders say they’ve been frugal, Jason

Kriegmont said they’d done an “(expletive) poor job” of running the district. He said buses are often nearly empty and school buildings are too costly.

Kriegmont, a landlord who said he owns several area properties, said the levy would be costly for him, but he supported it for the child he has in the district and for the one who graduated.

“We have to do what we have to do for the kids,” he said.

Janet Kriegmont, a Columbia Schools bus driver, said that rejecting the levy would’ve meant cutting most extracurricular programs such as Air Force Junior ROTC, music and sports.

“Once they take it away, they’re not going to give it back,” she said.

Several other voters, who wouldn’t give their names, said they couldn’t afford more taxes and the effects of the cuts were being exaggerated by levy supporters.

However, Marie Getzlaff, a 2007 Midview graduate, said the cuts would’ve seriously affected students. Getzlaff, a 24-year-old veterinary technician who doesn’t own a home, said she benefitted from band and choir.

“It’s important for kids to have that experience,” she said. “There’s not a whole lot to do in living in the country, and keeping them involved is definitely important.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.