By MARK TODD

Staff Writer

mtodd@starbeacon.com

CONNEAUT- - A disappointed Conneaut Board of Education said another attempt at an operating levy will come soon and one member at Thursday's meeting scolded some voters for their lack of support in last week's general election.

"Those (people) who brag about voting against should go stand in the corner," said veteran member John Specht. "There's something seriously wrong with them."

A five-year emergency levy on the Nov. 7 ballot was defeated by a 400-vote margin. The measure would have raised $1.4 million annually for the district's day-to-day operation and to head off a $6 million shortfall projected in five years.

The board will convene a special meeting Dec. 4 to discuss the next levy, said Nicholas Iarocci, board president. Members need to determine the type, scope and value of a levy expected to appear on the May primary ballot, he said.

After the emergency levy's defeat, Iarocci said some cuts in services may arise before the end of the school year, but nothing was said Thursday night. Board members opted for an emergency levy to guarantee the revenue total each year and also to preserve special state funding the district receives based on it's millage.

Board members chose not to dwell on the failure, but said they were disappointed with the outcome. Specht was the most outspoken.

"I didn't run into anyone who was against the levy," he said. "(The result) was a shock. We have our work cut out for us."

Voters must understand the financial restraints facing the district, Specht said. State and federal funding are being cut at the same time government is demanding special programs, he said.

"These unfunded mandates have been piling up and piling up," Specht said. "Whatever animosity (voters feel) against the board, administrators or teachers, they have to outgrow it and move on."

Iarocci said he was pleased to hear some of the committee members plan to work on the next campaign. "I can't say enough about how hard (the group) worked," he said.

In other business, the board heard a presentation regarding the GEAR UP program under way at Conneaut High School and Conneaut Middle School. The state program was created to help and encourage students to pursue education after graduation.

CHS students who attended a seminar said classmates are asking about the program, while a special college day at CMS raised awareness of secondary education opportunities, members learned. T

Star Beacon Print Edition: 11/17/2006

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