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Manchester renewal levy on May ballot

4/11/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

NEW FRANKLIN — Manchester Local Schools officials are asking voters to support a renewal of one of its operating levies in the May 7 Primary/Special Election.

Issue No. 6 is a 9.8-mill operating levy that voters first approved in 1985, according to Superintendent Sam Reynolds. It has been renewed six times since then.

“Generally the people understand that this is a significant part of our budget and they are supportive of their schools and their school programs,” Reynolds said.

If approved again, the levy would continue to collect $945,140 a year for the district, which is about 8 percent of its General Fund, Reynolds said.

“We have a responsibility to prepare children for the future,” he said. “That 8 percent is part of our preparation.”

Reynolds added the General Fund is used to pay for daily operating expenses, including purchased services, such as insurance and contract services, as well as textbooks, technology, transportation, student extracurricular programs, employee salaries and benefits and district materials and supplies.

The superintendent stressed the renewal is not a tax increase, and added that residents are actually seeing the tax amount decrease. The 9.8-mill levy is currently collecting 5.1 mills, he said.

“What people pay is always reduced as property values increase, which has happened since 1985,” Reynolds said. “The millage is then continually reduced.”

The Manchester Board of Education also made the decision this year to make the levy a continuing one, meaning the levy would continue to be collected without having to go before voters again.

Reynolds said the board made that decision after looking at the levy’s history.

“Every time we put a levy up, we pay the expenses of that,” Reynolds said. “Since the levy has been approved for 28 years, we didn’t think it was prudent use of funding to continue to operate that way.”

The renewal would cost the owner of $100,000 in property about $159 a year. Those who receive the homestead exemption would pay less, about $119 per year, he said.

Reynolds said a campaign organized by Citizens for Education is under way to educate district voters about the issue.

Should the renewal levy not pass next month, Reynolds said the school board would examine the results and make a decision on how to proceed.

Additional information on the levy is on the district’s website at www.panthercountry.org.

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