Levy is official in Frontier district

NEW MATAMORAS – Voters in the Frontier Local school district now officially have a levy to consider for the upcoming November election. During its regular monthly meeting Monday night, the Frontier Local School Board of Education approved the language of one of the three levy options put to them for consideration during the June meeting.

At 5.81 mills, the levy would generate $400,000 annually for the school district over the next five years if passed.

The option was the middle of three paths discussed at the June meeting. The lesser of the three options at 5.08 mills, would have generated $350,000 annually. A possible 7.26-mill levy would have generated $500,000.

Board member Kurt Bohlen expressed some concern that the middle option would not be enough to keep the district’s head above water five years into the future.

“That’s what worries me is that in three years we’ll be right back in the red again,” he said.

But Superintendent Bruce Kidder said he and Treasurer Frank Antill were confident the 5.81-mill levy would keep the district solvent for the next five years.

“If our enrollment will stabilize, we’re hoping that will make it for us,” he said.

The levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 approximately $203 annually. said Kidder. In the Frontier district, the average home is valued at $75,000 and those homeowners would pay approximately $150 annually, he added.

Also considered when choosing the middle option was voter feedback, said Antill.

“We’re hearing from our voters they may support a little over 5 mills. That’s some of our thinking,” he said.

Frontier has tried unsuccessfully to pass several previous levies, including most recently a 9.19-mill property tax levy in November 2013.

Also discussed Monday night was the district’s intent to meeting with the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission in reference to nearly $1 million in funding the school feels is rightfully theirs to spend.

“We’ve got $900,000 remaining in the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission Fund. Our stance is now that money is entirely ours,” said Kidder.

The money was given to the district nearly 10 years ago as part of a settlement for work done in the district that did not meet contractual obligations.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission has approved the use of $300,000 of the $1.2 million settlement, but the school system is preparing to demand the commission release the rest as well.

“We’ve not been allowed to touch (that money) for a decade,” explained school board president Justin Hoff.

The school board is planning to meet with the commission in the coming month, said Kidder.

The board also approved some minor increases to event pricing for the upcoming school year. The price of admission to middle school athletic events rose from $3 to $4 and the price for varsity basketball games rose from $5 to $6.

The increases will allow the athletic programs to come closer to breaking even, said Kidder.