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March 4, 2013
Times Leader

AFTER FIVE rejections spanning three years, the Bellaire School District is again asking voters for more money.

The board of education is placing an 8.25 emergency tax levy on the the May primary ballot. Should it gain approval, the levy will generate $961,200 a year.

The most recent attempt, an 8.7-mill levy, was soundly defeated in the November general election, losing by a 600-vote margin. Less than 43 percent of the electorate voted in favor of the levy.

That leaves Bellaire school officials with a tough task on their collective hands.

Time is of the essence. The primary election is just a shade over two months away. Absentee voting cuts into campaigning time even further.

The Bellaire funding request has taken several different forms in its first five forays. None has come close to passage.

In the wake of those five setbacks, levy promoters must formulate a new and unique game plan to swing the nay-sayers into supporters.

To their credit, school officials have already began championing their cause, holding a planning meeting. At that session, subcommittees were formed to try and drum up support for the levy.

That is a starting point, but much more needs done if the latest levy try will prove successful. In the previous five unsuccessful funding attempts, Superintendent Tony Scott has been passionate in getting much-needed information to voters.

Scott has made the public quite aware that the district has eliminated four administrative positions, 36 teaching positions, the school resource officer and 16 classified positions for a savings of nearly $4 million in the last three years.

That is major streamlining, but those cutbacks have failed to strike a receptive chord with levy voters. So, Scott and his army of campaigners must find a new message or mode of delivery to garner support.

We are certain that Scott will again be relentless in leaving no stone unturned in search of votes.

If passed, it would be the district's first operating levy passed since 1976. It would also virtually get the district out of debt.

If the levy campaign is to prove successful, district officials may act quickly and creatively.

 
 

 

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