Friday, August 11, 2000

Educators: Jobs may hang on levy

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — A salary freeze in the Talawanda Schools would be lifted if voters approve a 6.5-mill operating levy the school board is putting on the Nov. 7 ballot.

        Failure of the levy not only would continue the freeze and almost $600,000 in cuts for the coming school year, but could result in the loss of 10 teaching positions, four custodians and two administrators.

        Possible ramifications of a third levy failure are outlined in a two-page position paper signed by all five school board members. It is something the board did not do during the last two campaigns.

        “It's critical. If this goes down, everybody is going to feel cuts. Everybody will be hurting,” said William Vollmer, board president. “All five of us agree with (the position paper). All five of us support it.”

        The levy would raise about $2.8 million annually, enough to keep the district solvent the next three years.

        “People have been telling us they want to know what happens if they vote no,” said Superintendent Susan Cobb. “I think this is a wonderful, unified statement from the board that explains the need and what may happen if it fails.”

        According to the position paper, 85 percent of the money will be used to boost teachers' salaries, which are the lowest of Butler County's 10 school districts. As required by law, 9 percent of the money would be used for capital improvement and curriculum. Six percent would be used for supplies and services.

        The paper will be used in the campaign effort to pass the levy, said Ms. Cobb and Mr. Vollmer. An organizational meeting for the levy campaign is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Talawanda High School.


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