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Willard schools seeking renewal of emergency tax levy

Cary Ashby • Nov 1, 2019 at 9:16 AM

WILLARD — Willard City Schools is seeking the renewal of an emergency tax levy on Tuesday’s ballot.

“It will generate $1.2 million a year. It doesn’t increase; it’s just a flat amount,” Superintendent Jeff Ritz said.

If it passes, the 5.5 mill-levy will last for 10 years. According to the Huron County auditor’s office, it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $107.41 annually.

“No new taxes. It’s a renewal,” Ritz said.

Noting it’s been on the books for the last 15 to 20 years, the superintendent said it’s “the same exact levy,” except this time it will last for 10 years due to a change in state law. Auditor Roland Tkach said the Willard voters passed the original levy May 3, 2005 and residents first saw the tax on their bills in January 2006. At the time, it lasted five years.

Fritz was asked how the school has used the money from the levy. He said it helps fund the arts, athletics, family consumer science, agricultural education and the salary and benefits for some of the educational aides.

“The majority of ours are covered by grants,” Fritz added, referring to the aides.

“We use it to help with our Mohican camp,” the superintendent said. “It doesn’t pay for the entire trip. it offsets the cost.”

The sixth-graders have taken outdoor classes at the three-day camp in April or May for many years.

“The last three times (the levy) has come up, the voters have supported it,” Fritz said. “We expect it to pass; everything we have heard is positive.”

Noting Willard is one of only one or two or three area districts to show recent improvement on their state report cards, the superintendent said “what we are doing” is related to the commitment to the students and staff members.  

If the levy doesn’t pass Tuesday, Fritz said there are two more opportunities — in May and next November and the district would face “major cuts” totaling $1.2 million.

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