Last updated: August 25. 2013 4:44AM - 299 Views

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SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Shawnee schools is projected to be out of money by the end of fiscal year 2014, and a failed renewal levy would only make things worse.

The school board took the first vote needed Tuesday to put a property tax renewal levy for operating expenses on the November ballot. The five-year levy raises $2.15 million a year. The mills will be determined and the board will vote to officially put it on the meeting next month.

The levy, which expires at the end of 2014, has been around for 10 years.

“Historically the community has been very good at supporting renewals, where it is not any additional taxpayer dollars,” Superintendent Paul Nardini said.

Nardini said it would be devastating for the district if voters didn’t support the renewal. This is especially true, he said, because the district has started deficit spending. The district deficit spent $500,000 last year and will deficit spend more than $1 million this year. It continues to worsen each year.

“You take $2.1 million out of the budget and that would just spiral,” he said.

Even with the renewal money, the district could be out of money at the end of 2016. A failed renewal would just escalate it, Nardini said. Discussions about future new money requests will come later.

The school board also on Tuesday hired Judy Gephart as middle school principal. She replaces Tony Cox, who was hired last month by Elida schools to be the new high school principal.

Gephart has been the assistant principal at the middle school since 2011. She previously worked at Lima schools. She began teaching there in 1987. She became vocational and special education coordinator in 2001 and a small school leader at the high school in 2004. She became a special education supervisor in 2008.

Sixteen people applied for the job and four got interviews. Gephart was the only internal candidate.

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