Still Trying

BELLAIRE SCHOOL District voters will be seeing a familiar face on the May 7 primary election ballot.

Another school levy has been placed before voters. That became reality Monday night when the board of education gave its blessing to a five-year emergency levy.

The latest money request is the sixth in just three years. In November, an 8.7-mill levy was rejected. It lost by a 600-vote margin.

The first two attempts to secure additional school revenue came in the form of a levy. The next two tries were shaped as a personal income tax.

The district is operating much more efficiently these days. A $3 million plus deficit, which placed the district on fiscal emergency in December of 2009, has been whittled to slightly more than $1 million.

That massive reduction is a credit to the administration, major cuts and sacrifices by many within the school system.

The food services operations went from a sea of red ink to a profitable entity. Forty or so positions have been eliminated, including administrative posts, while both OAPSE and the teachers union have bit the bullet by accepting a wage freeze and accepting an insurance carrier which saves the district money but is more costly to union members.

The district has done an excellent job of stopping the financial bleeding. Yet, another million dollars is needed to get the district out of the realms of state control.

Should the sixth try prove the charm, it would generate $961,200 per year. It would also mean the district is finally in line to shed its budgetary shackles.

Passing levies of any nature in Bellaire is no easy task. The police department, as well as the school district, both can attest.

The Bellaire Board of Education has five months to weave a new and more effective game plan to gain voter support. If it is able to that, the district’s future will brighten immensely.