Blanchester LSD asking voters to renew 1 mill levy

Staff report

Clermont County residents who live in Blanchester Local School District will be able to vote for or against a 1 mill renewal levy for permanent improvements in the district this November.

The district is located in Clinton County but also overlaps with Brown, Clermont and Warren counties.

Blanchester Local School Superintendent Brian Ruckel, along with board of education members, is hoping to assist with facility costs by renewing a 1 mill permanent improvement levy.

According to Ruckel, the district tried to increase the renewal by .5 mill last year and failed to do so.

If the levy is renewed this year it will begin in 2012 and first be due in 2013.

“We realize people in the area are also struggling to make ends meet,” Ruckel said. “It’s why we’ve decided to go back to a renewal this year, so there will be no increase in the amount of taxes homeowners currently pay.”

According to Ruckel, permanent improvement funds may only be used for maintaining school facilities through repairs including building, parking lot, athletic facilities and other repairs, or for purchasing major equipment including school buses. The funds may not be used for new construction, extensive renovations, salaries or operations.

“Taxpayers will not see an increase in their taxes by passing this levy,” Ruckel said. “They will pay the same amount they have for the last five years.”

Ruckel said voters have been supportive of permanent improvement levy renewals for the past two decades.

“Quality of school facilities are important to the people of Blanchester schools,” Ruckel said.

Ruckel said administrators and staff have worked hard to reduce costs in the past few years, including negotiating a salary freeze for staff in 2010.

“That may well have saved the district from extreme financial difficulty,” Ruckel said.

Ruckel said with cooperation from staff, students and the community, they have been able to operate the educational program with their current funding.

“We only ask the community to continue to support our efforts to keep facilities they can take pride in and enjoy for years to come,” Ruckel said.