MOUNT VERNON — Funding for three school districts hung in the balance Tuesday as voters went to the polls for the May 7 special election. All three issues passed, ensuring continued funds to the Mount Vernon City, North Fork Local and Northridge Local school districts.
Residents voted in favor of the Mount Vernon City School District’s permanent improvement levy with a clear majority of 1,350 to 636. The North Fork Local School District renewed its 1 percent income tax by a vote of 677 to 477. With the greatest number of ballots, Northridge Local Schools passed its combined bond and permanent improvement levy 1,508 to 1,252, garnering 55 percent of the vote in Licking, Knox and Delaware counties.
“I’m incredibly grateful and thankful to the community for their continued support,” said Bill Seder, superintendent of the Mount Vernon City School District. “We always want to honor that support and do our very, very best.”
Mount Vernon’s 2.9 mill permanent improvement levy will provide the district with about $725,000 in additional funds per year. Seder said the money will be used to update and maintain existing buildings. It will also provide the school board with the flexibility to meet certain district needs, such as transportation, as they arise. Per Ohio law, permanent improvement funds can only be used on items with a lifespan of five years or more, not every day operating expenses.
“This will allow us the flexibility to get an extra bus when we need it as our fleet is quite old,” said Seder. “We have some furniture that’s in need of replacing.”
“We want to say thank you to the community for their support,” said Scott Hartley, superintendent of the North Fork Local School District. “I’m pleased that we’re able to continue with what we’re doing and that our parents understand the importance that education plays in the lives of our students.”
North Fork’s levy will be in place for three years and fund current operating expenses. Hartley said that, like before, the funds from the levy will be used towards new programs, technologies and other innovations in the classroom.
“It was extremely exciting as the votes were rolling in just to see that we are having positive support and that continued to grow throughout the night,” said Scott Schmidt, superintendent of Northridge Local Schools. “On behalf of (the district), we deeply appreciate and are grateful to our community for passing the bond Issue.”
Schmidt also thanked the volunteers and supporters of the issue for their efforts to inform the community prior to the election. The district will now begin construction of a new elementary school building, which will include 26 classrooms, fine arts rooms, a cafeteria and a gymnasium. The funding will also allow the district to implement security upgrades and address ongoing maintenance needs at the middle and high school.
“We have critical needs in our schools and now we will be able to bring our schools up to modern-day standards to meet the increasing educational, structural and safety needs,” he said. “We are, of course, beyond thrilled and excited for the future of the Northridge community.”