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Voters to answer Ben Logan question Tuesday

District voters will answer a 10-year, 4.6-mill additional tax levy question May 7 to raise $1.375 million each year for Benjamin Logan Local Schools.

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School officials said the five-year forecast shows a steady decline over the next five years that will put the district in the negative financially without the passage of this levy.

More than $1.5 million in previous reductions have been made during the past 30 months. Cuts to high school and middle school course offerings have left student options slim, officials said, and have negatively affected student/teacher ratios at the elementary and middle schools.

Passage of the levy, they said, will maintain the current offerings of the district without making significant reductions.

Board president Bill Ramsey said that the finance committee looked at a number of millage options, and taking into consideration the local economy, opted for the 4.6 mills “trying to keep it even.”

He said, “We looked at the numbers for the five-year forecast and (this) will keep us whole ... as we are currently,” adding that with the state’s unsettled budget, it is nearly impossible to definitively know what impact new state cuts and mandates will have on any school district five years out.

Vice president Dr. Jason Robson added that there are no plans or discussions to make cuts to any programs or staff, should the levy fail, but it could be a possibility down the road.

District officials added that while the official ballot language is “technically correct,” this particular levy is “a fixed sum levy (that) will always generate the same amount of money for the district.”

Treasurer Robert Kuehnle said the levy will cost a homeowner roughly $140 per $100,000 of valuation annually, with Mr. Ramsey noting that the levy will only maintain carryover and not add more money to the bottom line.

Voters passed a permanent improvement levy in 2009, but those funds may only be used for repairs, building upgrades, roofs, windows and doors. Officials reiterate those funds cannot be used for district programs and operations.

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