By Kristin Bednarski
Milford Exempted Village School District will be again asking voters to pass a 4.5 mill operational levy.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Farrell said board members voted unanimously to pass the first resolution required to move forward with putting a levy on the ballot in May during their Jan. 10 meeting.
“We decided to continue to ask again for 4.5 mills,” Farrell said. “It’s still the lowest operating levy in Milford history.”
Farrell said board members decided to place the levy back on the ballot after evaluating finances, making cuts and hearing from members of the community through a survey and multiple listening sessions.
He said more than 1,000 members of the community participated in a survey that asked questions about the district and dozens of community members attended the listening sessions.
“We certainly heard feedback that the great majority of people wanted us to try again,” Farrell said about placing the levy back on the ballot.
Farrell said if the levy passes in May they will not receive funds until 2014, which is why they have already made cuts and have made plans to cut $1.4 million at the district.
“We made $750,000 in reductions for the rest of the school year,” Farrell said.
He said they will continue to make cuts beyond 2013 to reach $1.4 million.
Farrell said the big reductions are coming from reductions in maintenance and materials, laying off eight custodians, and cutting back cleaning at all of the schools.
“Basically we’re going to not be cleaning to the level and satisfaction as in the past,” Farrell said. “We’re going to be asking for a lot of cooperation with staff and students as we try to do this.”
Farrell said they will continue to make additional cuts including reductions in transportation to and from sporting events.
“It’s not that we wouldn’t have busses, but a lot of times parents will be bringing kids back,” Farrell said.
Farrell said transportation costs may soon fall on the sports teams as well.
He said that all of the cuts, and the decision to put the levy back on the ballot, are part of an effort to make up for nearly $4 million in cuts from state funding.
“We have to make more reductions to make up for that additional loss,” Farrell said.
The 4.5 mill operating levy failed in November with 11,208 voters opposed to the levy and 10,955 voters in favor of the levy.
Farrell said from now until May they will be working harder to spread the word about how important the levy is for the district.
“I think it’s really important that we get out to the community,” Farrell said. “People are busy, we need to reach them in a variety of ways. We think we have a compelling story, but we have to do a good job letting people know that.”
For more information about the levy or the district visit www.milfordschools.org.