JEFFERSON — Grand Valley Local Schools District’s five-year, 3.3-mill levy failed Tuesday night, with 55 percent of voters against the measure, according to unofficial results from the Ashtabula County Board of Elections.
The levy was expected to bring in more than $600,000 to the district to pay for permanent improvements to the school building, such as HVAC repairs or new additions to the district’s aging bus fleet. Voters would have paid about $10 extra per month, or about $115 annually, had the levy passed.
Superintendent William Nye told the Star Beacon Tuesday night the results were “disappointing.”
“Somehow we’ve got to keep our schools preserved,” he said. “We will struggle.”
Administrators had also hoped to get ahead of annual bus purchases, which are about $80,000 each, Nye said last week.
The district only buys one per year but ideally should be buying two. One of the “first things” to be replaced with new permanent improvement money was to be the phone and PA system, which is outdated, he said.
The district also would have used the money to pay off its athletic complex loan, which is currently paid out of the permanent improvement fund, Nye told the Star Beacon in January.
The district’s existing 1.55-mill permanent improvement levy is still in effect.
The district had resolved to stop collecting that levy upon passage of the new one.
The current levy’s effective millage rate, however, is only about one-sixth of a mill, district Treasurer Lisa Moodt told the Star Beacon last week.
The district eliminated five positions because of declining enrollment almost one year ago. Nye said Tuesday the number of new students hasn’t gotten any healthier since.
“If I can’t fix my heat, my enrollment’s dropping and I don’t have enough (permanent improvement) money to fix the things to keep the building going, then probably that’s going to come out of the general fund,” he said.
“That could mean (cutting) staffing, unfortunately. Let’s hope it won’t get to that.
“I can’t guarantee anything at this point.”