Bellaire Levy Is Rejected

BELLAIRE – Voters in the Bellaire Local School District on Tuesday again rejected a levy to generate funds for the district.

Residents had been asked to approve an additional 5.91-mill levy for five years to meet the emergency requirements of the district, and the measure was defeated by a vote of 970 against to 751 in favor.

The failure marked the eighth time in four years voters turned back a levy request from the school district.

A similar levy failed in November with a vote of 1,349 against to 1,154 in favor. In last year’s primary election, the school district had asked voters to to pass a larger 8.25-mill levy, and it was rejected with a vote of 1,039 to 842.

Also rejected 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.

Superintendent Tony Scott said it will be the Bellaire Board of Education’s decision whether to try a ninth time to pass a levy, but he believes additional funds will be necessary if the district is to provide students the opportunities they deserve.

“It’s a difficult pill to swallow,” he said. “I think this school district is on the brink of doing phenomenal things, and I hope the public understands what a great situation we have here. We have straightened things out of the fiscal side, and have made some cuts. But we want to bring back things the students desperately need.”

Electives at Bellaire High School such as art and music have been cut as Bellaire Local Schools sought to avoid financial deficits, and Scott said the district also would like to reinstate advanced placement English and math classes at the school.

The district also wants to add classes pertinent to the oil and natural gas industry, according to Scott.

“These are very tentative plans,” he said. “We can’t do anything unless we know five years out we don’t have deficit spending.”