Wednesday, March 3, 2004

8 school districts win issues


Voters shoot down 11 other area education levies

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COMPLETE COVERAGE
Cincinnati.com Special Election Coverage
Eight school districts, including West Clermont, bucked the trend Tuesday night as voters torpedoed the majority of issues on Greater Cincinnati ballots.

"I'm almost beside myself with elation," said Michael Ward, superintendent of the 9,000-student West Clermont district. "It was a well-organized camp.''

With voters approving a five-year emergency levy to maintain daily operations, 54 percent to 46 percent, the district avoids having to make $3 million in cuts.

Of 19 school issues in 18 school districts, 11 were defeated.

In Hamilton County, winners were:

• St. Bernard-Elmwood Place City Schools, where a renewal levy passed.

• Loveland, where voters narrowly approved a combination levy.

• Madeira, where a bond issue to build and renovate schools passed.

Madeira Superintendent Stephen Kramer shouted over the cheers of school supporters.

"We took our case to the community, and the community showed us they value their schools," Kramer said. "We went door to door and sat in a lot of living rooms talking to people."

Madeira's bond issue, which passed 59 percent to 41 percent, will raise $28 million to build new schools to replace Dumont Primary and Sellman Middle School and renovate the high school to ease overcrowding.

Losing districts in Hamilton County were Reading, Winton Woods and Three Rivers.

It was a disappointing night for Camille Nasbe, superintendent of Winton Woods City School District, where its levy lost, 56 percent to 44 percent.

"We made a good case for why we need the money, but they voted it down,'' she said. "This points out the fact that the state funding of public schools is putting a burden on taxpayers.''

The 4,000-student district is now faced with making $2.1 million in budget cuts.

In Clermont County, Batavia passed its levy, but Clermont Northeastern and Williamsburg levies lost.

Mason voters approved a bond issue to raise $35 million for construction of a preschool through first-grade school, additions at Mason Intermediate School and synthetic turf field.

Enquirer reporter Michael D. Clark contributed. E-mail ckranz@enquirer.com




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