Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Lakota puts levy on ballot this fall

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

LIBERTY TWP. - Voters in the Lakota Schools district will be asked in November to approve a levy that is about one-third lower than the 11.67-mill levy they rejected last March.

The 7.7-mill combination levy the Lakota Board of Education voted Monday to put on the Nov. 2 ballot will be enough to pay for day-to-day operations for the next two to three years and build three schools.

"I don't think any of the needs changed," said Joan Powell, board president. "We heard from people that the (March) levy was too much. So we're going to phase in our facility needs and the levy won't last as long as the March levy would have."

The November levy includes a 2.2-mill bond issue that would provide $80.3 million for construction and 5.5 mills that would bring about $12.4 million annually to the general fund.

The construction money would pay for two elementary schools, a second freshman school and for additions to Lakota East and West high schools. But it won't pay to rebuild Union Elementary, which was included in the failed March levy.

That, Powell said, will have to come later.

"Union will have to be replaced eventually, but we'll delay it," Powell said.

During the last 10 years enrollment has increased about 34 percent, from about 12,200 students in 1994 to 16,370 when classes ended in June. Projections call for another 400 students by the time classes begin this month.

"On average, we've had enough students come to Lakota to build a new elementary school every 22 months," said Superintendent Kathleen Klink.

Taxes would increase about $236 annually on a $100,000 house, if the levy were approved.


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