London schools to face additional cuts
By Jane Beathard
For the third time in a year, voters in the London City School District turned down a new property tax to fund school operations.
The issue aimed at generating an additional $2.5 million annually over the next five years to keep the district financially afloat.
The 8.3-mill levy failed 2,078 to 1,394 votes in unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary. It again failed to pass in each of the district’s 10 precincts.
A 7.5-mill emergency levy failed 783 to 1,774 votes in May last year. A similar 8.5-mill measure failed 1,802 to 2,855 votes in November’s general election.
School board president Martha Geib, M.D., said supporters failed to provide enough information to sway people, despite a series of forums and other public participation.
“We haven’t convinced the community that the schools need money,” she said.
Budget cuts were already afoot in the district, regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election. Those cuts included elimination of four teaching positions, two support jobs and 21 supplemental contracts, as well as reductions in overtime pay and extended teaching days.
Superintendent Tom Ben and school board members awaited Tuesday’s results before naming additional belt-tightening measures.
Geib said it’s likely voters will see another tax levy before the end of 2012. The next ballot opportunity will could come with an August special election. November’s general election will present a second chance to generate voter approval.
The district needs additional tax revenue, beginning in January 2013, or face a $1 million to $1.5 million shortfall by the end of the 2014 fiscal year, Geib said.