'It's a huge deal' for M'ville schools

Zoe Greszler • Nov 8, 2018 at 2:00 AM

MONROEVILLE — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

The Monroeville Local Schools took that adage to heart and at last saw the fruits of its labors on Election Day when the district’s levy passed.

Monroeville was denied twice on a five-year, 1.8-mill replacement permanent-improvement (P.I.) levy, which appeared both on November 2017 and the May 2018 ballot.

This time the school board asked the public to continue its current 1.8-mill levy, which generates about $80,000 for the district. The tax passed 827-682.

The school will continue collecting taxes on houses based on their worth 45 years ago.

The passage was a good thing for the district. According to the five-year forecast reported by fiscal officer Stephanie Hanna, had it failed, the school was projected to begin deficit spending in 2020. Now it has a little more financial stability. 

“We're very appreciative of our community,” superintendent Ralph Moore said. “In this day and age you cant assume passage of anything. ... We understand the sacrifice that it is for people when they make these decisions. We're very appreciative.

“It's a huge deal,” Moore added. “It really would have handicapped us without it. It would have been devastating (if it failed) because it compounds itself. The first year, you lose $80,000. The second year you've lost $160,000 and the year after that, you’ve lost about a quarter of a million dollars.”

The five-year forecast, which, when it’s prepared has to assume a levy failure, will need to be amended and represented the board at one of its upcoming meetings. The levy’s success “means stability” for the school, according to Moore.

“This is something that we've worked really hard on the last 3 1/2 — to be a financially stabilize district. Anytime you start pulling things away, that risks it.”

Being “in sound shape financially” was the result of choosing to be proactive instead of reactive, the superintendent said.

“We want to give people a reason to support us and to continue to perform at a high rate academically, to be sound financially,” he said.

We want to keep moving forward. This is huge for us moving forward. It enables us to take care of the district.

This is not the end of the battle though. 

“We're still working with a PI levy that’s over 30 years old in terms of the money generated,” Moore said. “At some point down the road, we're talking two to three or so, we will ask the community to support a levy that is more up to date.”

But Moore said “it’s too early to talk about that right now,” as the district just focuses the current success. A lot can change between now and then, as well, Moore said. One this will be for sure though, it will be run and generated by the community people.

“We have a lot of momentum right now,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of good things happening. It's good time to be in Monroeville.”

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