Marysville school board moves forward with 4-mill levy
In a 4-1 vote, the Marysville Board of Education approved a resolution to put a 4-mill operating levy on the November ballot.
Board member Doug Lassiter opposed the resolution, saying he disagreed with the assumptions in the district's financial five-year forecast.
"My position is I can't support putting a levy on the ballot when the forecast doesn't represent the commitment that I think this board should make, which is staying off the ballot, commitment to having positive cash flow and to avoid deficit spending," Lassiter said at the July 26 board meeting.
Board president Jeff Mabee disagreed.
"I would say this board wants to make that levy last as long as possible," Mabee said.
Lassiter also cast the only vote against approving the five-year forecast submitted to the state of Ohio in May.
The forecast assumes the state will cut tangible personal property tax money to schools and assumes up to a 2-percent pay increase for the staff, allowing the board room for future negotiations with the staff, along with an 8- percent health care benefit.
"What drives that millage is salary increases and health insurance increases in the forecast," Lassiter said. "You can make zero mills work if you pull those out."
Mabee said the forecast "presents a realistic picture."
"Going forward with no raises for the next four years is just not realistic," he said.
District treasurer Cindy Ritter said she and Superintendent Diane Mankins have only had three weeks to start working on budgets.
"Once Diane and I look at everything, we might have other areas that we haven't even started to think about that we can get to a positive cash balance -- but not without giving us time to do that," Ritter said.
"I think Cindy and I both want to continue to look for ways to save money over time," Mankins said. "Our pursuit of making that money last as long as possible is not over. We're still going to look for ways to operate more efficiently. Being a few weeks into it, we don't have all that planned out or the right people to the table yet."
Board member Sue Devine said since the forecast has been approved, the district should "focus more on the fact that the 4-mill levy is going to get us in the ballpark of where we need to be.
"We know we have work to do and we don't want to come back in a three years with another levy," she added.
Board member Amy Powers said she did not think 4 mills was enough.
"I'm not sure it's adequate. I've heard feedback that people wish to up it so we don't come back with more levies in the future," she said.
Mabee countered that the only way "to get true feedback from the community on the levy is to put it on the November ballot."