WAPAKONETA — Voters in the Wapakoneta school district rejected a five-year, 1 mill additional levy Tuesday by 148 votes, with 57 percent of voters turning down the increase.
Voters in all other area issues approved their levy renewals, including requests for Allen East schools, Bath Township, Bluffton schools, Delphos schools and St. Marys schools.
Wapakoneta Superintendent Aaron Rex said he was disappointed with the vote.
“As a school system, we thought it was important to put this opportunity before our voters,” Rex said. “It’s evident that people want us to work within the funds that we have to accomplish the goals, and I respect that. I know that this is not a vote about safety; everyone wants our schools to be as safe as they can. It’s a vote about working inside the budget we have and still doing everything we can to keep people safe. I love Wapakoneta, our kids, our staff, our community. We’ll continue to offer the best education possible and work to be better every single day.”
If the levy had passed, it would have generated $400,000 a year, which would have gone to enhance security and pay for training.
“I voted against it,” said Buff Parker. “I just don’t think we need more cops in the school. You know, it’s about education, and people could say it’s a sign of the times. I say, let’s do something about the times then.”
Eileen Labelle also voted against it, she said, noting “I’m on a limited income.”
But other voters saw the need for the extra money.
“I voted for the levy because I want the school to be safer,” said John Doll, a senior at Wapakoneta High School. “Mentally, it provides a safer feeling for everyone. That’s a good feeling because some people live in fear. I don’t think they should have to.”
Mark Ewing and his wife, Judy, are retired teachers and said they supported the levy.
“I just thought it was an inexpensive way to ensure safety, and I would hate to think that something would happen,” Judy Ewing said.
Mark Ewing added, “I believe guns aren’t the problem, it’s the people that need help. That need to be taken care of before they reach a stage where they could do something like that. There were a string of suicides when I was teaching when I was younger, that was all that type of thing. People that needed help weren’t getting it.”
There were several other levies under consideration in Allen and Auglaize counties:
• Voters in the Allen East Local School District approved a 2.75 mill renewal levy, with 71 percent saying yes.
• In Bath Township, 79 percent of voters approved a 3 mill five-year renewal levy for fire and emergency services.
• Bluffton school district voters approved both a 0.5% three-year permanent improvement income tax renewal and a 4.244 mill five-year property tax renewal levy, with 82 percent in favor of each issue.
• Delphos city school voters renewed both a 5.5 mill five-year levy for current expenses (75 percent in favor) and a 2.25 mill five-year levy for permanent improvements (76 percent in favor).
• Voters for St. Marys schools approved a 5.92 mill, five-year renewal levy, with 63 percent of voters in the affirmative.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.