A 0.75-mill permanent improvement levy for the Lorain County JVS was sent May 17 to state officials for approval to go on November’s ballot.
The levy would raise nearly $4.1 million and cost homeowners $26.25 per $100,000 of property valuation annually.
Board of education members had initially discussed a half-mill levy but decided 0.75-mills is necessary to cover yearly fluctuations in spending.
Voters approved a 0.75-mill operational levy renewal for the JVS in 2016. Operational funds are used for expenses such as employee salaries and utilities but can’t be used for building renovations, schools buses, lawnmowers, or textbooks.
The school has never had a permanent improvement levy and uses its general fund to pay for those types of projects.
The JVS spends roughly $1.5 million per year on preventative maintenance, not including the cost of repair and replacement projects, according to superintendent Glenn Faircloth.
Board member Dwayne Becker of Firelands said a 0.50-mill measure would not leave room for unexpected costs that could arise in the next few years.
“What can we do to our classrooms to get the very best for our kids here and get them a job starting at $50,000 or $60,000 a year?” he asked. “We need to look at what we can change around here to make it better. That’s hard to do when your hands are tied with finances every year.”
Faircloth said students and instructors have saved the school at least $200,000 by performing maintenance and repairs related to their classes, including electrical work.
“Our staff has been a saving grace in that regard,” he said. “Students have done a lot of electrical work since I got here in 2012. We’ve been fortunate enough to have good people inside these walls who’ve saved us this money and are certified to perform this work, but that might not always be the case.”
Board member Ayers Ratliff of Wellington voted against the levy but said he would have supported a 0.50-mill measure.
Annie Carstarphen of Elyria abstained from the vote while Amherst’s Rex Engle was not present at the meeting.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.