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Lakemore council hears about importance of school levies

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

LAKEMORE  Mayor Rich Cole presented a proclamation during the Oct. 19 council meeting to Springfield Local Schools Superintendent Chuck Sincere and Board of Education President Dave Hofer, the Board of Education, administration and volunteers that helped to provide meals for children while they were undergoing virtual learning.

Through USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the Springfield Local Schools was able to provide breakfast and lunch for Springfield School District children ages 1 to 18. The Lakemore Municipal Building was a site for distributing the meals with volunteers working each day throughout the spring and summer months.

Springfield Local Schools Superintendent Chuck Sincere (left) and Board of Education President Dave Hofer show a plaque presented to the district for its service to the children in the community.

The USDA has recently announced it will continue the program through June 30, 2021. Free lunches are provided to all students whether in school or virtual learning. Anyone can pick up meals for the children at door J at the Junior/Senior High School between 11 a.m. and noon.

School finances

Sincere also spoke to the council members about school finances. He said the district operates on five renewal levies that are on five-year cycles. On Tuesday, two of the renewals will be on the ballot and are for operating expenses. One is permanent improvement for building maintenance and expenses. A third is an additional 7.7-mill operating levy that voters rejected in August.

Sincere said the last time the district had new money generated was 20 years ago and the decision to place the levy on the August ballot came prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They issues are listed as Nos. 40, 41, 42. The renewals do not cost homeowners anymore and the new levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home less than $23 a month. A mill is $1 tax revenue on $1,000 property value. It would generate about $3 million a year.

Sincere said the district has brought down costs, made cuts and brought the millage down as low as it could. He said coronavirus dollars were great but they don’t wipe out the $750,000 in cuts in May due to a loss of state funding. He said another $750,000 reduction in state funding will come. If the levy does not pass, Sincere said it will be devastating to the school system as it would have to reduce the budget by $3 million, which would result in cuts to programs and services.

“It is a difficult situation to be in and we are asking for your support,” he said.

Hofer said the schools bring value to the township and village. He said it assists families in educating their kids. He pointed out some of the sports teams that are doing well this year and bright spots within the schools.

Hofer said "Moving Springfield Forward" on Facebook has a lot of good information about the levies. He said questions about the levies will be answered on Facebook, or people can call the buildings or the board offices.

Hofer said if people just want to talk about what has happened in the past then fold up the shop but “we want to move forward.”

Cole said village officials are very thankful for the schools in Lakemore, adding that the Junior/Senior High School is their largest employer. He added that the village took a revenue hit with the closing Edwin Shaw and that school makes up a good portion of remaining revenue for the village.

“Any cut that Springfield Schools makes affects the village’s bottom line," Cole said. "I need to stress that to our constituents and to come out and vote."

Other speak

Emery Pitman with the Lion’s Club and an auxiliary police officer said the kids that go to the football games are great.

“I have been working the games for many years and never had a problem," Pittman said.

Hofer said he received a letter from a referee about how the Springfield girls displayed excellent sportsmanship and one from a parent in Streetsboro about how the girls handled themselves when they crossed the field and during the game.

“We are doing a lot right at Springfield Schools,” said Cole.

Pitman also reported on the Lion’s Club drive-thru spaghetti dinner dinners. They sold 156 dinners. He thanked everyone for their support.

In other business, council:

• Approved a health insurance proposal from SummaCare.

• Approved a resolution to apply for Ohio Public Works Commission funding to replace the six-inch sewer main.

• Approved an amended illicit discharge ordinance.

• Approved a contract with Total Administrative Services Corporation for employee health flexible spending accounts.