Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Ludlow schools ask for money

Voters to decide on tax March 30

By Karen Gutierrez
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LUDLOW - Ludlow residents will vote March 30 on whether to raise property taxes to pay for school renovations.

The school board last year approved the increase under a state law designed to help fast-growing districts raise money for construction. But Ludlow doesn't qualify as fast-growing, so its increase was subject to recall.

Ludlow residents signed petitions that blocked the tax. On Monday night, the school board voted to put the increase on the ballot.

Nobody likes to levy taxes or pay them, Superintendent Elizabeth Grause says, "but the bottom line is, What is necessary for the future of our district?"

Ludlow schools have a total enrollment of about 1,000. Science labs date to the 1970s, Grause says.

The increase would add about $43 a year to the tax bill of a person who owns a $75,000 home.

With the extra revenue, the district would be able to issue bonds for about $1 million to start repairs, Grause says.

Because the state won't fund education adequately, Grause says, she already has laid off teachers and eliminated programs.

But some residents aren't convinced.

"It's a little river town. Most of the people down here, they're elderly. They live on fixed incomes," says Timmy Feldhaus, an opponent.

"It really is a very, very good school district," he says. "We're not anti-education. ... It's pretty much that people are being taxed to death, and we want to see it put to a vote."

The school board will hold meetings about the tax at 7 p.m. Monday for the community and 7 p.m. Tuesday for parents, in the elementary school cafeteria at 512 Oak St.


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