Second levy added to Southern Local ballot

SALINEVILLE — Southern Local residents will see not one but two levies on the ballot on Nov. 5.

At a special meeting this week, three members of the board present voted unanimously to place a 2.25 mill permanent improvement levy on the ballot. This levy will essentially replace what is left of the bond issue that led to the Ohio Schools Facility Commission project.

Treasurer Greg Sabbato said the plan would save district taxpayers by paying off the 23-year bond issue that originally passed in March of 2000, which allowed the school to build the K-12 complex at that time.

“The bond levy was passed about 20 years ago,” Sabbato said. “We’ve refinanced it twice and every time we’ve lowered the rate for the taxpayers … substantially. This was an opportunity to pay it off early and save on future interest charges. We’ll have enough collected to pay it off.”

Some ideas for the permanent improvement dollars include maintenance on the current buildings. Sabbato noted while some of the buildings are only about 20 years old, they were built around another building from the 1960s. He points out there are a lot of problems that have been found through the years.

Additionally, Superintendent Tom Cunningham said the district could consider a multi-use auditorium and would look at possibly partnering up with the community to offer space for them.

“We want our community to use our space even more than they do right now,” Cunningham said.

Finally, the parking lot at the elementary school needs to be expanded and the parking around the complex needs to be kept up as well.

The dollars from the permanent improvement levy cannot be used for salaries or other expenses, only buildings, facility improvements and security. Cunningham said if voters pass this levy, the tax rate will actually be lower than what they are currently paying.

This levy will be on the same ballot as a levy renewal, approved by the board on June 27. That levy is a 7.84 mill operating levy, which if it passes will continue through 2025. That levy also passed originally in 2000 and has been renewed every five years.

In another matter, the students in grades 6-12 will have a new math series — Reveal Math. Cunningham said the teachers are excited and happy to have a series the teachers selected that will work well for the students of this school district and help them teach the core math principals the students need.