South-Western City School Board of Education members agreed Monday night not to pursue a second chance in February at the recently rejected levy and bond issue.

South-Western City School Board of Education members agreed Monday night not to pursue a second chance in February at the recently rejected levy and bond issue.

Superintendent Bill Wise said there was insufficient time to seek a levy in February, but district officials likely will discuss placing an issue on the ballot in May at their next meeting, Nov. 24.

"We had 58 percent of the community vote against us," said board President Cathy Johnson. "We definitely need to step back and get some input from the public before we proceed."

"The conclusion that I came to after doing some reflection on it is the turnaround was so quick. It was just too quick to for me to say 'yes, let's go,'" said board member Randy Reisling. "I didn't think it was in our best interest to provide for February at this time."

Remaining board members agreed.

"It's probably appropriate at this time to review the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission guidelines," Wise added.

He said tobacco settlement funds, previously offered at about $206-million for district facilities upgrades, are available to the district until August 2009.

Rick Redfern, school district resident and parent, said board members should attempt a bond issue in February.

"I like to think of the baseball analogy: three strikes, your're out," he said.

Terry Jones disagreed. "Given this economy, I don't think this district will be passing levies any time soon," he said.

"Voters in the South-Western City School district are simply safeguarding their incomes."

Jones is president of South Western Alternatives to Taxes, previously called South-Western Against Taxes.

He said he has lost faith in his local elected officials for "demonizing" the 58 percent of voters who voted against Issue 81 Nov. 4.

"This is a struggle between the haves and the have-nots," he said. "Our officeholders don't deserve our trust."

Jones was cut short when board member Amy Baker interrupted. She said her property is worth $41,000 less than that of Jones.

"I get tired of somebody who makes more money than me telling me I'm a 'have,' " she said.

In the past two years, district officials have cut $13.6-million from the budget and frozen all discretionary spending.

If a levy fails next year, officials will need to cut $5.4-million in order to balance the budget, Wise said.