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|03-05-03: Celina board planning to involve community
|Two school levies go on ballot this May
By JANIE SOUTHARD
The Daily Standard
Celina alumni Tom and Rosann Rable will serve as co-chairs of the
Bulldog Levy Campaign, which plans to get community involvement to pass two school levies
Celina City Schools district faces a projected $1.5 million deficit for
2004 after a five-year, 1 percent income tax levy failed in November.
The most dramatic decision by the school board thus far to address the
deficit was to close Celina Franklin Elementary School at the end of this school year.
Board members have alerted the community that should either of the May
levies fail, additional budget cuts will be made including elimination of all sports
program and extracurricular activities as well as more staff cuts.
The two May levies entail a 3/4 percent income tax that will bring in
$2.25 million per year for five years, and a 6.8 mill operating levy that will also bring
in $2.25 million per year for three years.
Named Tuesday night at a special meeting of the Celina City Schools
board of education, Tom Rable, manager of administration for Celina Aluminum Precision
Technology, said his focus is to get the community involved in passing the levies.
"I think the last levy campaigns were viewed by the community as
just the school board's issues. They weren't community driven. But our schools are very
important for the good of kids, families, businesses, the community in general,"
Rable said following the meeting. He also said he feels the status of a town's schools has
a "huge impact on companies considering relocation."
More than 100 people attended the campaign kick-off meeting where not
only committee chairs were selected but Tafani Stober, chair of Parkway's recent
successful levy campaign and a marketing instructor at Wright State University-Lake
Campus, offered proven ideas on getting levies passed.
"I'm here to get you pumped and energized for the upcoming
campaign. Your school is a real powerhouse for academics and sports. You must take the
issues to the community, and one-on-one conversations are best. Start with your family and
friends," Stober began.
"Friends buy from friends. In this case you're selling education.
People will agree it's important until the dollar signs pop up. That's when you give them
information about the levy and talk positively," she said.
She said with only two months before the election, campaign workers
need to invest their time well.
"Look to getting voters registered and encourage them to actually
vote. Drive them to the polls if need be," she said, adding this campaign needs to
focus on information first and promotion second.
District Superintendent Fred Wiswell narrated a media presentation
highlighting levy items in progress, local groups involved and informational meetings with
community organizations already scheduled.
A member of the audience pointed out that many of the voting public do
not belong to any government bodies, social or service organizations.
"We've missed a lot of people who could have voted yes had they
understood the issues and felt a part of the effort," she said.
Wiswell vowed this campaign will definitely be community focused.
"I've had a lot of e-mail, suggestions and ideas from the
community about how to get these levies passed, and we want these campaign issues to be a
goal of the community as well as the school board," said Wiswell, who estimated the
campaign will cost between $8,000 and $10,000.
As of Dec. 31, 2002, campaign funds totaled $1,042. Recent donations of
$2,350 bring the checking balance as of March 3 to $3,392. Amy Wade has volunteered to act
as campaign treasurer and any donations may be made to her.
Chairs of the seven campaign committees are: finance: Jim Miller;
endorsement, Mike Hyland; signs/billboards, Christine Lugo and Tim Lehman; literature,
Robin Elston; media, Chris Mohler and Lisa Fell; community and public relations, Sheryl
Braun, Scott Braun and Becky Thwaits; and student volunteer groups, Kim Smith and Wendy
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