ADENA - A 2-mill continuing improvement levy for the Buckeye Local School District will be on the Nov. 6 ballot for voters' consideration.
If approved, the levy would fund basic operations and improvements in the school district, including purchase of books and buses, building maintenance, equipment, renovations, computers and more. The levy would raise an estimated $500,000 annually, and there would be no expiration date for the levy, according to administrators.
The Buckeye Local School District services about 2,000 pupils and students in the municipalities of Smithfield, Rayland, Mingo Junction, Martins Ferry, Brilliant, Yorkville, Tiltonsville, New Alexandria, Mount Pleasant, Dillionvale and Adena. The district is calling its campaign for the levy "Vote for the Three B's - Buildings, Books and Buses," according to district Superintendent Mark Miller.
"We were looking for a slogan," said Miller. "Basically an improvement levy can only be used for things that last at least five years."
Miller went on to say "the levy goes for things that really impact the students. (No funds raised by the proposed levy) can be used for salaries. Our buses travel 3,000 miles per day. It's a big district we have, and we have 27 (bus) routes. It adds up."
Miller said fuel costs have skyrocketed for the district, while the district's academic progress has improved greatly over the years.
"We've been rated as an excellent school district for the second year in a row," Miller said. "Buckeye School District hasn't asked the voters for operating funds since the 1970s."
The district's bond levy for construction of Buckeye High School expired in 2010, and the structure is now paid off. That means district voters' school property taxes have gone down in the past year, according to Miller. Residents voted for the bond measure in 1987, and the high school opened its doors in 1990, said Miller.
District Treasurer Dana Garrison said district upgrades and maintenance costs have increased substantially and have taken a toll on the district's general operating fund.
"It's getting harder every year because that's the fund we use to purchase textbooks and other (student needs)," said Garrison.
Miller did say the district received a one-time payment of $800,000 for oil and gas rights on its property, but "We've already spent it for a new roof for the high school and the purchase of three buses. We had to purchase the buses, and well as invest in new technology (for pupil and student learning needs)."
Garrison said the oil and gas windfall only accounted for 4 percent of the district's general operating fund, and "these buildings are older and need a lot of maintenance."
A district homeowner without a Homestead Exemption whose house has a market value of $70,000 would pay $44.88 annually, or about 12 cents a day, according to statistics provided by the district. A district homeowner with a Homestead Exemption whose house has a market value of $70,000 would pay $27.56 annually, or about 8 cents a day.
For information on the levy, call Buckeye board members Naoma Kolkedy at (740) 859-4830; Brad McFadden at (740) 769-0022; or the district office at (740) 769-2234.
(Miller can be contacted at email@example.com.)