Polls will be open in just 10 counties next week for special elections. Of the 11 issues that are set to appear before voters Tuesday, five are school levies or bonds.
Although turnout is typically low for special elections, there is hope that going to the ballot off-cycle could be beneficial for schools, said Van Keating, senior staff attorney for the Ohio School Boards Association.
“They can kind of target and get a lot of interest in what their issue is and perhaps people pay more attention to it because there are not a lot of other issues,” he said in an interview.
“It’s about the time where kids go back to school so people are paying attention to schools, there is an interest in schools and they’re getting involved in schools after summer, so I’d say it’s probably a good time of year,” he added.
Xenia Community City, Crestwood Local and Clark-Shawnee Local school districts are asking voters to pledge additional dollars to be used for building, renovating and equipping facilities as well as making permanent improvements.
Respectively, the districts are seeking $52 million, $23 million and $37 million bonds for their projects
Mr. Keating said voters should consider bond issues as investments in their school districts because they’ll likely be used to fund more efficient buildings and technology upgrades.
“It’s important because a lot of schools do need funding for building renovations,” he said. “Some of them are experiencing student growth and so they have a need for more space or a lot of the older schools are running into (the issue of) it’s kind of hard to keep up with modern technology and wiring.”
Meanwhile, Madison-Plains Local Schools is looking to avoid an operating deficit through a proposed additional 5.9-mill, five-year levy set to raise $2 million annually.
Waterloo Local Schools is also asking for an increase to cover current expenses. It has proposed an additional 8.25-mill continuing levy.
Other issues on the ballot include a 0.25 sales tax continuation in Ashland County to operate its jail and an additional 1.8 mills for permanent improvements to the Louisville Public Library.
The latter was set to appear on the May ballot, but it was pulled when residents called for the library’s board to consider other options that would eliminate the need for additional funding for a new facility, according to reports.
Renewal levies include those in North Canton, where residents will be asked to vote up or down for emergency medical services, and Minerva Park, which is looking to cover current expenses with dollars raised.
Camden Village ballots will include two renewal levy requests, one for police protection and another for current operating expenses.
Per Ohio law, the entire cost of special elections is paid for by those subdivisions where elections are held.