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Lexington Local Schools passes renewal levy by narrow margin

Lexington Local Schools passes renewal levy by narrow margin
LEXINGTON — School officials had to sweat out Tuesday’s primary election for results on a 6.4-mill, 10-year renewal levy.

In the end, voters supported the levy for Lexington Local Schools by a margin of 2,013 to 1,955 in final, unofficial vote totals from the Richland and Morrow counties boards of election. The winning margin was 50.7% to 49.3%.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” school board President Keith Stoner said. “Thanks to the voters for continuing to support our schools. It’s such a critical need.”

District officials were concerned by the recent property reappraisals, fearing those could make people less likely to vote “yes.”

Keith Stoner
Keith Stoner

“I figured it would be pretty tight,” Stoner said.

The levy did not pass in Morrow County, but only 213 votes were cast.

The renewal is not a new tax, and the money will go for operating costs, not for a new elementary school.

Renewal levy generates 10% of district’s funding

Generating roughly 10% of the district’s general fund, the levy will produce $2.705 million dollars a year.

“These funds are used for operational costs, including academic curriculum, instructional programs, teacher and support staff salaries, student transportation, updated technology, instructional supplies and other operating costs of the district,” Treasurer Jason Whitesel previously said.

The renewal levy was last passed in 2014.

When the school board filed with the county auditor, the levy was certified at 6.4 mills. Following property reappraisals, the millage actually dropped to 4.9, though it appeared on the ballot as 6.4.

Whitesel said the levy generates a fixed sum, regardless of the property reappraisals.

As an existing renewal levy, it remains subject to homestead and rollback deductions covered by the state. This offsets a portion of the tax for the community of approximately 12.5%, or approximately $338,000 annually.

Because of Ohio law, district employees cannot promote passage of a levy. That’s where Steve Risser and the renewal committee of nine people came in.

Risser became involved because he is a 1994 Lexington graduate and has children in the 10th and seventh grades.

“I’m very grateful,” he said. “I think I speak for the entire committee.”

Risser said the committee members were new to a levy campaign.

“Everybody on our committee was a rock star,” he said. “They all jumped in with both feet.”


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This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Voters pass renewal levy for Lexington Local Schools

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