Belpre Schools sees levy success

BELPRE – Officials with Belpre City Schools District are breathing a sigh of relief as the renewal of an emergency levy passed with more than half of the vote.

“We are all very pleased, but not surprised because we know how much our community loves our kids and how much they support the schools,” said district Superintendent Tony Dunn.

On Tuesday, voters in the district voted to approve the 10-year renewal of the emergency levy, which will continue a 3.85 mil levy last renewed in November 2009 and originally passed by voters in March 2000.

The issue passed with 71 percent of the vote, or 665 individual votes for with another 263, 28 percent, against.

In January, Dunn asked the board to approve legislation to place the issue on the upcoming ballot in order to keep the schools running as they are.

The 3.85 mil levy generates $825,000 annually for the school district and will continue to generate the same amount while not having taxpayers see an increase in their taxes, said Dunn.

Following a lengthy discussion during the Jan. 13 meeting, the board chose to amend the original five-year emergency levy from five to 10 years in order to save the district and taxpayers money in another renewal election.

Last year, the state Legislature approved action to allow school districts to seek 10-year levies as opposed to five-year and, while it will not change the amount of money a taxpayer puts forth, it will allow the district and, by proxy the taxpayers, to not have to pay for two elections.

On the current levy, the owner of a $100,000 owner-occupied house pays $111.78 a year, which will not change with the renewal in May. The $111.78 annually works out to $9.32 a month or 30 cents a day.

Dunn said there are no plans for the board to look into another levy to repair buildings or purchase new books.

“We will take everything one step at a time,” he said. “Right now, it is very gratifying to see what we already knew – that the community is supporting what we are doing.”