Try it Again

WHERE DO we go from here?

That is probably the current mindset with Bellaire School District officials. Superintendent Tony Scott and the board of education are picking up the pieces from another election setback.

Bellaire schools were seeking approval of an 8.7-mill levy on Tuesday’s general election ballot. It was the fifth attempt in recent years to generate a new funding source to enable the district to escape the throws of state fiscal emergency.

The latest request fared no better than its four predecessors. The levy was defeated by a sizable 2,419-1,802 vote margin (57-43%). The first four ballot tries were two levies and two income tax issues.

Tuesday’s setback is a bitter pill to swallow for everyone associated with Bellaire schools. A new sense of teamwork, cooperation and optimism appeared to fill the Big Reds’ hallways, classrooms and buses prior to this election.

The Big Reds’ great football success this fall generated even more excitement. The district was again rated excellent by the state department of education.

Things were going real well for the district, save for escaping debt. The upbeat district spirit took a nosedive after the vote totals were finalized.

It is now back to square one for the Bellaire school officials.

Some 40 teachers and half their administrators are gone. Both the teachers union and OAPSE have taken a pay freeze and bought into a new insurance program, saving the district money while forced to pay more out of their own pockets.

The district is now taking in more money than it is spending. However, the district still must repay more than a million dollars to the state.

Levy approval would have turned the trick.

With no new revenue sources on the horizon, Bellaire schools have limited options. District voters will likely face a sixth money request in the near future.