Last updated: August 24. 2013 4:12PM - 61 Views

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LIMA — The Lima school board wants to know exactly why residents have twice rejected requests for operating money, and hopes a survey will provide insight on where to go from here. “We as a board have to find a way to gather factual information to determine what our next step will be,” board President Sandra Monfort said at Thursday’s board meeting. “We have to gather information from our community of what is it for sure that is causing the defeat of the levy.”The board voted to allow the superintendent and treasurer to obtain a survey as long as it does not cost more that $10,000 in district funds. If it does, a special board meeting would be called.Superintendent Karel Oxley said the district will soon begin interviewing survey companies. She said it’s important that someone outside the district conducts the survey so it is independent and neutral. She expects it can be done for less that $10,000.Oxley said the district will attempt to raise private funds to help pay for it.Fifty-two percent of voters rejected a five-year, 6.9 mill property tax last week. Sixty-one percent said no to a levy last November. Board members and school officials are already getting some input from the public. Monfort believes the defeat was reflective of today’s economy.The board has debated in the past between a property tax and income tax. Board member Bobbi McGinnis voted against putting both previous levies on the ballot, saying an income tax is more fair. She said Thursday that she supports a survey as long as results come from a cross section of the community.All five board members voted to move forward with a survey.“We can’t afford to have any more guessing games as to what the public wants,” board member Marilyn Frueh said. The board approved $915,279 in cuts last month, telling the public what would happen if the levy didn’t pass. The cuts, which will go into effect next school year, include two administrators, 11 teachers, three classified positions and six coaches. The district will also hold off on purchasing new writing and social studies textbooks and cut field trips from the general fund.These cuts are not the first. The board already made $409,000 in reductions, including six employees, following last November’s levy failure. The district faces a $2.7 million deficit in 2010. The previous cuts allow the district to stay out of a deficit in 2009.The district could go back to the voters in August or could wait until November. The district also has a renewal levy that would likely be on the ballot in November.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com. 

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