Saturday, August 18, 2001

Fairfield board makes case for levy

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — After watching a 2.9-mill operating levy go down in defeat in May, Fairfield City School officials are proposing a larger levy this fall.

        The Fairfield Board of Education moved Thursday evening toward placing a 5.6-mill continuing levy before voters in November. The levy, if approved, would generate about $5.9 million yearly in new revenue to operate the district. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $171 a year in new taxes.

        “Without the levy, this educational program is in jeopardy,” Fairfield Superintendent Robert Farrell said. “It's also earmarked for attracting and retaining our current professional staff. And it's earmarked for keeping our class sizes at the same level.”

        The money would also be used to upgrade technology and maintain staff, district spokesman Randy Oppenheimer said Friday.

        The 2.9-mill levy in May was defeated 4,185 to 3,310. District voters last approved an operating levy of 2 mills in 1997, but that was the only increase since 1992.

        “That's a long way to go on 2 mills,” Mr. Oppenheimer said.

        The district has about 9,000 students in 10 schools.

        The proposed levy is higher than the one voted down in May, primarily because of an increase in the district's health care costs. Those costs jumped 25 percent for this year, Mr. Oppenheimer said.

        Without new money, the district would have to cut about $2 million from the budget for the 2002-03 school year, which could result in teacher cutbacks or affect extracurricular programs, Mr. Farrell said.

        “In some way, these programs will have to be impacted for the following school year,” he said.


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