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Approve School Levy in Bellaire

During nearly a decade of state-declared fiscal emergency, Bellaire Local School District officials made many difficult decisions. Spending on day-to-day operation of schools needed to be reduced dramatically, and it was. School officials — and Bellaire students — were rewarded in 2017 when state supervision over spending was lifted.

But it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to cut spending on school buildings and other physical facilities. Either they are maintained or the become unsafe and, eventually, unusable.

Bellaire voters have a tradition of ensuring that does not happen to their schools. Property tax levies to keep schools in good repair and make important improvements are supported.

It is time for that support to be manifested once more. The Nov. 3 election ballot for Bellaire school district voters includes renewal of a Permanent Improvement Levy. In fact, the measure includes a slight increase, which bears some explaining. Technically, the increase would be a full mill. Actually, because a previous levy is being retired, it would amount to an increase of only half a mill.

School district officials estimate that would mean minimal increases in tax bills. For example, the owner of a $50,000 home would pay only about 2 cents a day more.

Once the levy is approved — and we have confidence it will be — school officials will be able to take care of some pressing needs. They include repairing and upgrading heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems in schools. In addition, visitor-side seating at Nelson Field needs to be replaced. Also, the Clock Tower at Bellaire High School is in critical need of major repairs.

None of this is flashy, “new and improved” work of the type we all like to see. The projects are important, necessary ones, however.

For that reason, we endorse the Bellaire Local Schools District’s Permanent Improvement Levy, and recommend that voters in the Nov. 3 election say yes to it.

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