By Janie Southard
Celina school district voters will get a break on the May levy package. Not only will it be no new money, it will also be a dollar reduction on the originally proposed levy.
"Due to the recent Mercer County property reappraisals, we have decided to lower our renewal levy request," Superintendent Matt Miller said following Thursday evening's special school board meeting. "While it would be a financial windfall to keep out current levy dollar amount and the increase from the appraisals, it's not the right thing to do."
Voters still will be asked to approve a combination levy that replaces two existing three-year levies -- the 6.8-mill property tax levy due to expire this year and the 7.9-mill property tax that ceases in 2007.
The new proposed levy originally was slated at 14.7 mills, but now is anticipated to be dropped to about 12.3 mills. If passed, the new five-year property tax would generate $4.5 million annually, down from current $4.9 million brought in by the two expiring levies.
Based on the new reappraisal information, board President Tom Rable said it "only made sense that we need to roll back the levies we're renewing. We're trying to do the right thing as representatives of the taxpayers." Thursday's special meeting was called to discuss in executive session upcoming negotiations with the district's two unions. The teachers' current contract will expire on Aug. 31; and the contract with classified workers (bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc.) will end on June 30.
According to Miller, the board and central office administration recently participated in negotiation training with the district's law firm, Pepple and Wagoner of Cleveland.
"Through the process last year we learned a lot about how to make it smoother this time around. We want to stick with the issues at hand and let the process play out," Miller said.