|School Board Levy Kick Off Meeting Held|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00|
Tipp City schools’ supporters hope there’s a lot of buzz around town this spring with district residents talking up a 4.93-mill emergency operating levy.
A levy kick off meeting Feb. 20 centered on creating a grassroots campaign as the district works to convince residents of the need for the $1.9 million a year the four-year request would generate.
Superintendent John Kronour said this levy campaign would differ from those of recent times, focusing on grassroots and using several committee chairpersons versus an overall campaign chairman.
For starters, more people than in the past were invited to the kick off meeting discussion.
Kronour opened the meeting at L.T. Ball school by saying the May request is a “most important levy.”
District residents will be asked to share levy information with family and friends and, in turn, encourage them to share with others. The district also needs to get more staff involved in the campaign, Kronour said.
The campaign will feature information on cuts and other measures, such as pay to participate, taken to help the district live within its means, Kronour said.
Information to be highlighted will include what positions/services would be restored if the levy passes as well as what would happen if the levy fails. The two plans, Kronour said, will be shown side by side so people can evaluate them.
Among committees forming to work on the levy are marketing, signs, voter registration, fundraising/finances and rumor control/answers to questions.
“We need to make sure the correct information is out there,” Kronour said.
Parents and teachers attending the meeting offered several thoughts on why people voted to soundly defeat the district’s last levy request in August and how to approach a new, smaller request for local support.
Voting statistics from the August special election showed there were a number of families who were not registered to vote or did not vote.
Kate Johnsen, a school board member who has worked on past campaigns, said there would always be those who vote yes and those who vote no on tax levies. A campaign needs to work to pull the undecided voters into the “yes” column, she said.
District resident Katie Wahl said after the last election she heard about people of all ages who didn’t vote because they had never voted “no” in the past
Another district resident said the district needs to have understandable financial information more readily available, so people can see where their tax dollars are going. Kronour said he believes the district is transparent with financial information, which is public record. He said he’d welcome suggestions for better formats to use in showing financial information.
Also discussed was why the August levy failed. Among factors mentioned were the district redistricting of the elementary schools, the levy amount (7.95 mills) being too large for the economic times and some residents unhappy that while they are paying high health care premiums school employees are not.
Resident Tom Dysinger said people didn’t seem to think that the impact of the August levy failing would be too painful. “People didn’t think it was going to hurt that much,” he said.
Kronour said he heard people saying the increase to the pay to play fees would not be as much as the increase in tax bills.
A woman who described herself as a teacher and parent said there is a perception that there is “fat to cut when we are cutting muscle.”