Mason Board of Education votes to put levy on November ballot

MASON, OH (FOX19) - The Mason City Schools' Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to place a 6.95 mill phased-in levy on the November 2 ballot to cover the district's day-to-day operating expenses.

This is the lowest Mason City Schools operating levy in 30 years.

Since 2006, a combination of changes to the state funding formula and tax law has cost Mason City Schools millions of dollars in revenue, according to school officials.

The district will receive $27.4 million in state funds in 2011, which officials say is the same amount it received in 2006, when the funding formula switched to a guaranteed amount of money rather than funds based on the number of students enrolled.

"The State of Ohio has its own significant budget shortfalls—they will not come to our rescue," said Dr. Kevin Bright, Mason City Schools Superintendent. "The only way we will be able to maintain the high level of academic preparation our community expects is to insulate ourselves as much as possible from the reduced state funding."

Other changes that school officials have made:

  • Reduced staff strategically through attrition in all employee categories.
  • Lowered costs for health care coverage due to employees' participation in a high-deductible Health Savings Account.
  • Reduced salary costs-- administrators took a pay freeze, and all staff gave up a cost-of-living increase.
  • Spent $85,000 less that what it spent three years ago on non-personnel operating expenditures (instructional materials, supplies, transportation and utilities.)

"The district has continually tightened its belt-- especially since the last levy passed in 2005. The 2010 levy, which is the lowest millage rate request in 30 years, will protect the type of educational programs that both parents and the community expect," said Debbie Delp, School Board President. "Without this revenue, the district will have to further reduce its expenditures impacting staffing, programs and services, and opportunities for students."

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