LEBANON — Lebanon City Schools’ request for a smaller operating levy than the one rejected by voters earlier this year spelled victory on Tuesday.
District voters approved the the five-year, 3.78-mill operating levy by 50.5 percent, with 49.5 percent voting against it, according to final, unofficial results from the Warren County Board of Elections.
The difference between the two sides was slim at just 129 votes.
Esther Larson, Lebanon’s school board president, said she was “still trying to process” the victory Tuesday night.
“We truly, truly value the support of the community, especially during these very difficult economic times,” she said. “I feel jubilant for the kids because the programs will be sustained, the staffing and busing will be sustained and ... we’ll keep working hard to provide the best education that we can for our students.”
The levy will cost an additional $116 a year in taxes for $100,000 property value.
After voters rejected in May levy of 8.2 mills, administrators had implemented $3.5 million in budget cuts. The levy’s approval means the district will not need to cut its budget by an additional $3 million, which would have eliminated approximately 100 positions, Larson said.
The cuts would have included art, music and physical education classes for first through sixth grades, and the ROTC program at the high school, she said
Approval of the levy also means the district will keep pay-to-participate fees at the same level, avoid eliminating high school busing, and avoid stopping bus service for students through eighth grade who live within two miles from bus stops, according to Lebanon Superintendent Mark North.
“We don’t have to strip this district down to a bare minimum,” North said. “We can sustain what we are doing with the services and the program and the staff that we have now.”
Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4541 or email@example.com.
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