Schools levy campaign gets underway next week

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

The push to pass a levy to pay for new Ironton schools will get underway in earnest next week.

Approximately 30 people who signed up to work on a campaign to pass the levy will meet for the first time next week. That meeting will follow a special session of the board of education scheduled for 5 p.m. at Ironton High School.

"The meeting is open to anyone who wants to be a part of the levy campaign," Superintendent Dean Nance said. "Hopefully we will get people who understand this is a necessary thing and work with us to pass the levy."

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Nance said the campaign meeting is not a public meeting, but a planning session to develop a strategy to get the levy approved by voters in November.

The 30 people who signed up to be part of the campaign did so after a community forum late last month. During that forum, city school officials explained their plans to build all new schools to replace the district's facilities.

The special board meeting itself is part of the process of putting the levy on the November ballot.

By law, once the district has agreed on a school facilities plan and has a price tag for the proposal, the school board must pass a resolution asking the Lawrence County Auditor's Office to certify the millage to pay for the levy.

That resolution will likely be passed at this Thursday's regular board meeting. After the auditor's office makes its certification, the board must officially accept the auditor's certification. That will likely be done at the special meeting next Tuesday.

The locally funded portion of the bond levy would require $18 million, or 8.74 mils. The cost to the average homeowner with property with an assessed value of $50,000 would be $133.83 annually, or $11.15 a month. The state would pay for 73 percent of the 41.7 million project. The rest of the cost, $11.2 million plus any locally funded initiatives, would be paid by local residents if the tax levy is passed.

Meanwhile, a grass roots collection of people who want to save Ironton High School is in the organizational stages, according to Mark McCown, one of the more vocal members of the group. They are waiting to see what will happen.

"There is not a whole lot we can do until we see what they're trying to get passed," McCown said. "But we're moving along. The goal of our group is not to oppose a levy for the Ironton City Schools, but to see that there is enough money and that there is a levy passed that will renovate Ironton High School."