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School District Eyes $940K

Voters to decide on 8.7-mill operating levy in November

August 14, 2012
By JOSELYN KING Political Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BELLAIRE - Bellaire voters will decide this fall whether they want to fund the Bellaire Local School District with an additional $940,000.

The school district is placing before voters in the Nov. 6 general election an 8.7-mill levy for general operations over the next five years. Superintendent Tony Scott said the cost assessed to a $100,000 home in the district would be about $267 a year, or about $22 a month. Those receiving the Homestead Exemption would pay about $200 a year, or about $17 a month.

Voters in the Bellaire Local School District have rejected four attempts to raise additional revenue for the district since May 2010. In November and May 2011, residents voted down 1-percent income tax requests. They also rejected 12.9-mill levies placed before them in November and May 2010.

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Photo by Joselyn King
The Bellaire Local School District is putting before voters an 8.7-mill levy for general operation in the Nov. 6 general election.

Scott said he and school board members are optimistic voters will respond favorably to the lower levy amount request this year.

"In the last three years, we've reduced our expenditures to the point where we're trying to make the best chance by reducing the millage," he said. "Over the last three years, we've shown fiscal responsibility, and I'm hoping we can get the support of the community behind us."

To reduce expenses, the school district reduced its number of administrators from nine to four. Assistant principals at each of the district's three school buildings accounted for three of the five positions eliminated.

"We also used to have three central office employees," Scott said. "Now we have one - me."

The district also has cut almost 40 teaching positions in the past three years, according to Scott, who said there are now about 80 teachers in Bellaire schools.

"It all hurts," he said. "We've been trying to do everything in our power to outrun the debt, but there is not enough expenditures to cut in the long run to get us out of the debt."

The district takes out advances on the funding it receives from the state, but this leaves it with less money to operate with later in the year.

"The whole idea we hope people realize is we have spending under control," Scott said. "Not many school districts I know of have gone 36 years without increase in the general fund. In 1976 ... the last operating levy passed in the district."

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