Tuesday, August 03, 1999

Princeton, Mt. Healthy levies on ballot today




BY MARIE McCAIN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Voters in several Hamilton County precincts today will decide two school tax issues — a continuing operational levy for Mount Healthy schools up for renewal; and a new operational levy that would prevent further monetary cuts at Princeton schools.

        Residents from Colerain and Springfield townships and Mount Healthy will decide whether to renew a 1.89-mill levy to help with operationcosts at schools serving about 4,000 students from those areas.

AT THE POLLS
  Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  To find the polling place nearest you, call the Hamilton County Board of Elections, 632-7000.
  Mount Healthy City Schools voters may call 729-0077.
        Mount Healthy Superintendent David Horine said Monday that voters need to be aware that the levy will not impose any new taxes.

        Originally passed in the early 1980s as a 3.16-mill emergency levy, the proposal has consistently yielded $500,000 annually.

        If approved, the owner of a $50,000 home would continue to pay $29 a year in taxes for the levy and the district won't have to return to voters until 2002.

Princeton issue
        For voters served by the Princeton City School District, this will be the second time in less than a year that a levy to support operations and prevent budget cuts has been up for public consideration

        Today's ballot issue is a 3.95-mill levy, placed on the ballot in May by the Princeton school board.

        District Superintendent Dennis Peterson said Monday that without the money this initiative would generate, the district would be forced to consider job cuts, as well as the fate of some of its 11 schools in Glendale, Woodlawn, Springdale, Lincoln Heights, Sharonville and Evendale.

        But he cautioned that nothing specific has been considered.

        The money would cover operations and programs, including small class size (teachers, aides, etc.), keep community-based schools open instead of merging or closing, and fund teacher and staff raises in the 2.4 percent to 3 percent range.

        If approved, the levy would last about five years and raise an estimated $2.27 million in 2000 and about $6.1 million in the following years, officials said.

        The district estimates the levy would last through the 2004-05 school year, if spending increases are kept at or below 3 percent.

        The levy would cost the owner of an $80,000 home $96.78 in new taxes, according to the district, which serves 6,800 students.

        In November, voters defeated a 6.5-mill levy that would have raised about $10 million annually to meet expenses. As a result, the board had to cut $4 million from its 1999-2000 budget.

        Mayors from the six communities Princeton serves have jointly come out in support of the levy.

        In a statement made in June, the mayors said: “We are delighted at the five-year length of the levy and the cost to the taxpayer. The (school) board and administration ... have committed to improve the academic performance of the district and focus on improving money management as well.”



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