Kent Board of Education members have approved placing an 8.9-mill continuing operating levy on the May 2013 ballot.
Superintendent Joe Giancola said the levy would bring in approximately $4.25 million in new funds to the district per year.
Giancola said all 8.9 mills of the proposed levy would go toward the general fund because unlike some other districts, Kent City Schools does not propose separate permanent improvement levies, which raise funds for facilities and property with an expected usefulness of five years or more. Instead the district transfers $430,000 per year from its general fund into its permanent improvement fund.
Kent voters last approved an operating levy for the schools in 2006.
"Because of our cost-savings initiatives and the wage freezes approved by teachers, administrators and staff members, we were able to stretch our last operating monies for seven years--well past the anticipated four years," he said.
Giancola and Treasurer Debbie Krutz reported that the annual cost savings of $4.2 million will continue each year, but the sharp reduction in funding from the state makes passing this levy an absolute necessity.
"Kent Schools provide an excellent education for the young people of our community," Giancola said. "Our recent 'Excellent with Distinction' rating from the Ohio Department of Education makes this very clear. Unfortunately, in order to continue to educate our students in the way our community expects, school districts in Ohio have no other viable alternative than asking local taxpayers for operating funds."
Giancola told board members that with the passing of the May 2013 levy, the district will maintain its commitment to classroom instruction and extracurricular activities, as well as providing bus transportation to all who qualify. In addition, the district will upgrade its safety and security measures and resources.
Giancola said residents with questions about the levy could call the Kent City Schools Board of Education office at 330-676-7600 or visit kentlevy.org, a privately run website that will be updated with information about the levy campaign.