South Point will give levy another try

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2000

With only two days left to file for a special election, South Point Superintendent Rick Waggoner walked into the Lawrence County Board of Election office with a determined air.

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

With only two days left to file for a special election, South Point Superintendent Rick Waggoner walked into the Lawrence County Board of Election office with a determined air.

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When Waggoner finished at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, a bond levy for new schools in the South Point School District was officially scheduled for a special election Aug. 8.

"This is our last and final try," Waggoner said. "By putting up $7 million, the state will pay for 77 percent of the cost for new schools. If we don’t get this passed, the next levy South Point voters will have to pass will be for the full 100 percent.

"If this levy does not pass, the money will be given to another district."

Voters previously turned down a 4.84-mill property tax levy to provide about $7.1 million in local funds to match about $23.4 million in state building assistance funds during the past two elections.

The funds are needed to build a new high school and elementary school, as well as to renovate the current high school in its transformation into a middle school.

Because of the recent rise of interest rates, voters will not be asked to approve another 4.84 mills this time, however. Instead, voters will be asked to vote yes or no to 4.99 mills, Waggoner said.

"It’s raised due to interest rates," he said. "The interest rates have gone up. There’s nothing we can do about that."

Despite the increase, South Point residents will still pay less in taxes after the bond levy than four other school districts in Lawrence County, Waggoner added.

"We would be fifth in the county," he said. "We would be third from the lowest even with this increase. Four other areas in the county would be paying more than us even if the levy passes."

The alternative to paying slightly more in taxes is for the South Point School District to fall behind other districts in the educational opportunities it can offer its students, Waggoner added.

"Everyone else in the county has passed a levy except for Ironton, which hasn’t had the opportunity," he said. "(If we don’t pass this) it puts us at a disadvantage facility-wise and all the infrastructure we could have for centralized video, computer labs and teacher workstations won’t be there."

Campaigning to inform area voters about what South Point will lose if the levy fails a third time should start immediately now that the election date has been set, Waggoner said.

"Campaigning has not begun yet, but we will be working on campaign strategies, which will include going door to door to make sure everyone knows what the state is offering," he said.

Waggoner hopes this new campaign strategy will be enough to get the South Point area voters to go to the polls and support the schools.

"In the past as we’ve been trying to campaign we’ve also been trying to select a site and get answers to questions," Waggoner said. "We’ve always been rushed. This time we can focus on the campaign and really get the information out to the people."

It will take the community’s help to pass this levy for area schoolchildren, Waggoner said.

"Anyone not registered to vote, and who would like to vote for it, the registration deadline is July 10," he said. "And I know it’s summertime and time for traveling and vacations. We would like to encourage anyone who will be out of town to vote yes on an absentee ballot."

And the Committee for Bettering South Point Schools is always looking for volunteers, Waggoner said.

"Anyone interested in working in support of the levy and willing to go door to door please call (me) at 377-4315," he said.

Election Day will be Aug. 8. Only precincts in the South Point School District will be open, however, because it is the only election scheduled, said Mary Wipert, Board of Elections director.

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. that day.

South Point School District is responsible for all costs associated with this special election. The approximate cost will be between $6,000 to $7,000, Mrs. Wipert said.