London Schools levy defeated
By Jane Beathard
For the second time in six months, voters in the London City School District turned thumbs down Tuesday on a property tax levy to support operations.
The 8.5-mill emergency levy failed 2,855 votes to 1,802, according to unofficial results from the Madison County Board of Elections. It failed to pass in each of the school district’s 10 precincts.
A similar 7.5-mill levy failed 783 to 1,774 votes in the special election held May 2.
A strong campaign by levy supporters that included door-to-door contacts, signage and phone calls, failed to overcome a nervous economy.
“We’re disappointed, but we know we’re in difficult economic times,” said Superintendent Steve Allen.
It’s now back to the drawing board for the district’s board of education, which will include newly elected member Jonathan Stahl. Stahl will replace retiring board president Vici Geer in January 2012. The group already has a “Plan B” on the table for making additional budget cuts.
Board members decided in July to seek the levy in order to generate $2.5 million for the district during each of the next five years. The money would close a financial gap that is estimated reach a negative $500,000 by July 1, 2013.
Teacher and support staff layoffs last year are projected to keep the district financially afloat by a thin margin of $691 through the current fiscal year, which ends July 1, 2012. Allen blamed reduced revenues for the district’s financial woes.
“We can’t cut our way into a balanced budget and continue to maintain good academic progress,” he noted.
He express pride at London City Schools’ improved scores on the state report card. He also thanked levy campaign volunteers and school staff members for their work in recent months.