Bellaire Schools Fail In Seventh Ballot Issue

BELLAIRE – For the seventh time in the past three years, voters in the Bellaire Local School District on Tuesday shot down a ballot request to generate additional funds for the district.

Just down the road in Shadyside, voters approved a different outcome by passing their school levy.

The only other school levy to pass Tuesday was in Jefferson County, where voters approved funding for the Jefferson Joint Vocational School.

Other than Bellaire, voters rejected two other school levies – one in Monroe County, where a levy for the Switzerland of Ohio School district went down, and in Jefferson County, where the Edison Local School District saw its levy fail.

The tax issues topped a busy voting day Tuesday throughout the Buckeye State.

In Shadyside, voters approved an additional 4.61-mill levy for the purpose of providing for the emergency requirements of the school district for five years. A total of 919 voted in favor, and 807 against.

Superintendent John Haswell said he was optimistic the levy would pass, but said he also was aware of the realities of the current economy and that additional expenditures aren’t easy decisions for residents.

“Shadyside has always stepped up when we needed it – but you never know,” he said. “Everyone is facing hard financial times.

“This levy was crucial and absolutely needed, and people got the word. We want to thank the community for supporting us.”

The Shadyside Local School District has lost about $733,000 annually from its general fund following the closure of R.E. Burger Plant in 2010, according to Haswell. The levy approved Tuesday is expected to generate $365,000 a year for the next five years, and he said he hopes the district’s finances will have improved by that time without the need for another levy.

The Bellaire Local School District, meanwhile, had placed before voters an additional 5.9-mill levy request for the purpose of providing for the emergency requirements of the school district for five years. The measure was defeated by a vote of 1,154 in favor to 1,349 against.

Superintendent Tony Scott did not return calls seeking comment late Tuesday.

This levy was the Bellaire Local School District’s seventh attempt since the 2010 primary election to pass an issue to generate revenue for the financially strapped district. The district last asked voters in the May 7 primary to pass a larger 8.25-mill levy. It was rejected then by a vote of 1,039-842.

Also rejected by Bellaire voters were an 8.7-mill levy request in November 2012; 1-percent income tax issues in May and November 2011; and 12.9-mill levy requests in May and November 2010.