School levy members decide
to deliver info on property tax levy door to door
By LANCE MIHM
ST. MARYS — Members of the school levy committee and a
handful of citizens decided Wednesday to use a door-to-door
approach to help pass a 7.9-mill property tax levy in March.
The group met Wednesday in the McBroom Junior High School library
to discuss strategy and policy and to recruit citizens to spread
“We need to get one-on-one,” committee member Dave
Huber said. “If we don’t do that, then the levy
“My concern is no one is coming to the meetings,”
school guidance counselor Bill Cheslock said. “We are
going to have to go to their turf. The last levy was defeated
70-30 (percentage), so many people voted based on rumors they
heard. We are going to have to get out and talk to people.”
The committee agreed to concentrate on undecided voters as members
felt “yes” or “no” voters already had
made up their minds.
Committee chairman Ralph Wiley proposed a question and answer
fact sheet on questions he thought were most commonly being
“We can come up with question and answer sheets all day
long, but it isn’t going to get us anywhere if they are
not the questions being asked,” Wiley said.
Wiley said the public needed to be informed the levy is not
for new school facilities.
A 1 percent income tax and 6.92-mill new facility levy were
both defeated in November. The defeat of the operating levy
is leading to massive cuts, which includes closing Moulton Elementary
School and cuts in staffing.
The board faces even more cuts, including the closing of Noble
Elementary School and the loss of busing to approximately 1,150
students, if the levy is defeated in March.
“People are viewing this as some of us trying to save
our jobs,” said academy program director Dave Huber. “It
needs to be the non-school employees that are out there pushing
Tasks agreed on included putting up signs around town and supporting
the levy with a steady but not overbearing influx of letters
to the editor in local newspapers to educate voters on the levy.
The committee will hand out fact sheets at heavily attended
local places, such as supermarkets, banks, hospitals and sporting
Business manager Kurt Kuffner added that someone needed to be
a “fireman” on the local Ridertown Web site, which
has been popular with local citizens but also has been the site
of sometimes incorrect information.
“It’s like trying to unring a bell,” Kuffner
said. “We will need someone to keep an eye on it.”
Cheslock reminded the committee members that about 52 percent
of St. Marys graduates do not go to a four-year college, and
people need to realize the effect the cuts could have on vocational
The board plans to meet every Wednesday until the March election.
“We need to make people realize that this is for operating
expenses only,” Wiley said.
The proposed levy will generate about $1.8 million per year
for five years if approved. That is about $300,000 less per
year than the income tax levy that was defeated in November.