Shadyside school levy passes

SHADYSIDE John Haswell and his wife, Melanie, eagerly watched the scrolling listing of election results inside the Belmont County Board of Elections Tuesday night.

John is the superintendent and upper-grades principal for the district while his wife is a teacher and involved in numerous extracurricular programs.

They, like many, had their fingers crossed as the fate of the Shadyside School District played out on the monitor.

All signs pointed toward the good when all the precincts were reported and the levy appeared as if it was going to pass. However, the absentee ballots had yet to be calculated, and Haswell noted several times he believed there was a large absentee voter turnout.

When the absentee votes were finally added to the calculation, both were able to let loose a sigh of relief, and elation.

The Shadyside Local Schools levy passed with 919 votes cast in favor; 807 votes against.

“It’s tough economic times for everyone, but the village of Shadyside came through like it always does and passed this levy,” John Haswell said. “I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen.”

The work in the district, however, isn’t done.

Haswell noted that the district lost nearly $734,000 from its general fund because of funding cuts and the loss of tax dollars from the closing of the Berger plant.

This levy was designed for the citizens to meet the district halfway. The levy will generate roughly half of the total general fund losses.

Fiscal responsibility will be the name of the game for the district now. But that was the plan all along.

Now that the citizens of the district have met the school system halfway with this levy passage, it will go a long way to enabling the district’s board of education and its leadership team in shaping the future of Shadyside schools, despite the previous loss in revenue.

THE BELLAIRE School District, its teachers and staff, weren’t quite as fortunate.

The seventh attempt at passage of some type of fund-generating mechanism, whether that be a tax levy or an income tax, has failed.

This time, the tax levy went down 1,349 to 1,154. Less than 200 votes separated the district from the funding increase to its general fund it has so tirelessly worked toward obtaining the last few years.

Again, it was the absentee voters that seemed to bring about the levy’s vote.

In the spring, the school levy actually was ahead after all precincts were tabulated and accounted for. But once absentee ballots were counted, defeat was the result.

The levy’s fate played out to a similar scenario Tuesday night. After all precincts were counted, the levy trailed by only 20 votes. But again, absentee voting was its downfall.

District officials figured this was the year for passage. A lowered millage amount, 5.9 mills, meant district residents would pay less than previous attempts. But even that wasn’t enough to warrant passage.

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