SIDNEY — Voters in the Sidney City Schools District defeated a 3.0-mill, 5-year permanent improvement levy for the third time in 2016.
The unofficial vote from Tuesday’s election shows the levy failing by 920 votes. A total of 10,458 registered voters cast their votes in the levy, with 4,759 voting for the levy and 5,689 voting against the levy.
“I feel bad for everyone involved,” said Superintendent John Scheu. “This is our reality and we’ll bounce back. The board will be talking about where to go from here.”
Scheu said he doesn’t see the board placing the levy on the ballot in May 2017.
“It’s unlikely we’ll do that,” said Scheu.
“I’d like to thank the co-chairs Bill Warner and Tom Boecker for all they did,” said Scheu. “Also thanks to committee treasurer Jayne Smith. Tiffany Rank, our district communications director, spent a lot time and effort to get the levy passed.”
Scheu said many parents with children in the elementary schools spent a lot of time and effort to pass the levy.
The district, said Scheu, will face some challenges in the near future.
“Our expenses don’t go away because the levy failed,” said Scheu. “We will have to find ways to pay our operating expenses and permanent improvement expenses without draining the general fund to where we were when we faced a near financial tsunami six years ago.”
District Treasurer Mike Watkins said the levy failed by 45.60 percent for the levy and 54.40 percent against the levy.
“This is the same percentage that the levy failed by in the August election,” said Watkins. Seven thousand more people voted in Tuesday’s election than the August special election.
Boecker and Warner issued a joint statement after the results were known.
“In the not-so-distant past, Sidney city Schools weathered some very unstable financial times,” the pair said. “In an effort to put the district on a path to improved fiscal health, difficult decisions were made, including staff reductions, pay reductions and freezes, benefit reductions and tightening of discretionary spending.
“As a result of these efforts, as well as recent changes in state funding that have been favorable for Sidney City Schools, the district has been able to turn the finances around to build a comfortable carryover balance,” they said. “However, the fact remains that revenue is relatively flat with operating expenses and unfunded mandates increasing in addition to the repair and update expenses related to our aging facilities
“Without the five-year, 3-mill permanent improvement levy, the school district is forced to take a shorter view on the school district’s finances,” they continued. “The need of our 3,500 students continues and we are asking that our entire community invest their time to appreciate the benefits and needs of our school system and thoughtfully reconsider.”
Unofficial results by precinct are
• Sidney 1st Ward A: 236 for the levy, 33 against the levy
• Sidney 1st Ward B: 390 for the levy, 392 against the levy
• Sidney 1st Ward C: 523 for the levy, 372 against the levy
• Sidney 2nd Ward A: 210 for the levy, 258 against the levy
• Sidney 2nd Ward B: 325 for the levy, 287 against the levy
• Sidney 2nd Ward C: 205 for the levy, 183 against the levy
• Sidney 2nd Ward D: 309 for the levy, 370 against the levy
• Sidney 3rd Ward A: 264 for the levy, 365 against the levy
• Sidney 3rd Ward B: 369 for the levy, 563 against the levy
• Sidney 4th Ward A: 210 for the levy, 260 against the levy
• Sidney 4th Ward B: 223 for the levy, 247 against the levy
• Sidney 4th Ward C: 235 for the levy, 283 against the levy
• Sidney 4th Ward D: 334 for the levy, 351 against the levy
• Clinton Township: 227 for the levy, 243 against the levy
• Franklin Township: 119 for the levy, 92 against the levy
• Orange Township: 262 for the levy, 441 against the levy
• Salem Township E: 123 for the levy, 339 against the levy
• Salem Township W: 205 for the levy, 313 against the levy
• Washington Township, 0 for the levy, 0 against the levy
There were 416 under votes for the levy meaning 416 people who voted decided not to vote for the school levy.