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Elections

Voters approve renewal levies in three area school districts

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    Brunswick resident Tim Smith was out at the polls Tuesday. He said he was voting for the Brunswick Schools Renewal Levy.

    CINDY BREDA / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — School districts came up winners Tuesday.

Voters in three Medina County districts approved renewal levies for operating expenses: Brunswick, Highland and Medina.

Brunswick

“We want to thank our community for their continued support,” Brunswick Superintendent Mike Mayell said Tuesday night. “This accounts for 7 percent of our (operating) budget, so it’s a big deal. It really is a reflection of the voters’ confidence in us and we are very grateful.”

Brunswick’s 4.3-mill emergency levy renewal passed 3,412 votes to 2,803, according to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.

The renewal will generate about $4.67 million a year and help fund day-to-day operations for 10 years.

Voters approved the levy at 4.6 mills in 2006. Because of growth in the district, however, the renewal will bring in the same amount but at the lower millage of 4.3. Homeowners will continue to pay $135.45 per $100,000 of property valuation.

The district’s chief financial officer, Mark Prepera, previously said the first collection of the renewal will be in January.

Highland

“We are extremely grateful for the continued support of our Highland families and residents. This levy represents approximately 13 percent of our operating budget and is critical to the day-to-day operation of our school district,” Highland Superintendent Catherine Aukerman said. “We are thankful that the community once again renewed this levy, which was originally passed in 1998.”

Voters approved Tuesday’s 7.9-mill renewal request 2,639 votes to 1,793, according to unofficial results. The 10-year levy will continue to cost homeowners $159.20 a year per $100,000 of property valuation and generate about $4.15 million annually.

The renewal levies for Brunswick and Highland are independent of the bond issues voters passed last year to replace aging facilities in each district.

Brunswick’s $48.1 million bond issue will merge the three middle schools — Edwards, Visintainer and Willetts — into one building on 30 acres off Pearl Road.

Highland’s $63 million bond issue will allow the district to renovate the middle school and replace outdated elementary schools — Sharon Elementary, 95 years old; Granger Elementary, 88 years old; and Hinckley Elementary, 68 years old.

Medina

Voters approved a 5.2-mill, substitute continuous levy Tuesday night that will allow Medina Schools to continue operating at current funding levels.

The issue passed 5,199 votes to 3,418, according to unofficial results.

School board President Rebecca Parkhurst said passage of the levy, which will generate $6.6 million a year, will keep the district moving forward.

“It provides us with stability so that we can continue the programs that we brought back from the last emergency levy that we had (in 2013),” Parkhurst said Tuesday night. “By allowing the district to have that stability, we can then move forward on our strategic plan.”

The new levy replaces the 5.9- mill, five-year emergency levy passed in 2013 that was set to expire in December.

Programs the district brought back following passage of the 2013 levy included guidance counselors, media, art and physical education classes on a full-time basis at the elementary level.

Parkhurst said it was important for the district to make sure voters understood the replacement levy was not a new tax.

“It is no tax increase,” she said. “We had a lot of community chats and discussions, finding out what the community wanted. That’s how we developed our strategic plan.”

While the new levy will not raise taxes, unlike the one it replaces, it is permanent.

The substitute levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $182 per year, according to figures from the Medina County Auditor’s Office, the same as the 2013 levy.

“We didn’t want to ask the community for any new money until we needed it,” Parkhurst said.

Treasurer Dave Chambers said in May that taxes actually will decrease because of an 0.8 percent bond issue expiring in December.

“We would like to thank our community for all of their support in voting to pass the levy for us and keep our district moving forward,” Parkhurst said.

Contact reporter Cindy Breda at (330) 721-4012 or cbreda@medina-gazette.com. Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.
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