South-Western levy fails; cuts are to come
"I am just heartsick," said South-Western City School Board of Education President Cathy Johnson after voters turned down the 8.3-mill operating levy on May 5.
The four-year tax levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $22 per month or $264 a year. That appeared to be too much for most residents. Issue 15 failed by 56-44 percent; 13,205 people voted against the levy, while 10,487 voted for it.
The district will need to cut approximately $8 million from its budget. The cuts include eliminating high school busing, 60 positions, athletics and extracurricular activities.
"I know what instituting these cuts will do to the students and it just makes me heartsick," said Johnson.
Johnson explained that with the $8 million in cuts, the district would have made $22 million in cuts over the last three years.
When asked why she thought they levy failed, Johnson simply said, "I don't know."
With the failure of the levy, the district plans to close Harrisburg Elementary and the Kingston School. Students from those schools would be relocated. Most from Harrisburg would transfer to Darbydale Elementary. The district will also need to review elementary boundaries.
Not only will high school busing be eliminated, but walk zones would be expanded at all school levels. After school, the buildings will close.
The district will hold a public meeting on May 11 at Central Crossing High School. At 5:30 p.m. the treasurer and superintendent will discuss the financial situation. At 7 p.m. the board will hold its regular meeting. The public is invited and will not have to call ahead to address the board.
Johnson said if the community shows support for an August levy, the board will consider it.
"It all depends on the community," she said.
If the district decides to move forward with a summer issue, they must pass two resolutions and file with the Franklin County Board of Elections by May 21.
Johnson said the board will not act on a resolution Monday night.
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