Voters in the Field school district turned down a levy request Tuesday, making it the fifth failed attempt in two years.
The 5.5-mill levy was defeated by 202 votes -- with 1,861 votes against the levy and 1,659 votes in favor, according to complete but unofficial results from the Portage County Board of Elections.
The district hasn't approved new local funding since 1991.
Had the levy passed, the Field Board of Education planned to begin patching some of the $1.5 million in cuts it has made in the past two years, including resuming busing for all students, reinstituting year-round art, music and physical education course offerings and reducing its pay-to-participate fee structure.
Board president Terry Kettering called the defeat a disappointment and said although the district was able to achieve an "Excellent with Distinction" rating by the state, it still can't achieve community backing.
"This is very disappointing," Kettering said. "We're a good school system and we're not getting the support to keep it a good school system."
Dave Heflinger, the new superintendent of Field schools, thanked the Field Levy Committee for its effort on the levy campaign and said it's time to focus on November.
"The levy committee did an incredible job with getting the story out there and I certainly appreciate all of the work and effort they put into this campaign," he said. "We will start working harder, trying to get the message out even better than we did this time and hope for a different result in November."
The board of education and administration must also look at what can be done to avoid sinking into a projected $1.5 million deficit in fiscal year 2015, according to calculations by its new treasurer, Todd Carpenter, which take into account the increased state funding the district is set to receive.
Heflinger said he "does not anticipate any new cuts between now and the end of August," which would affect the upcoming school year.
Kettering said he was unsure what cuts may come in the future, but he hopes they won't have to impact education any more.
"(Previously) we were looking at stuff that won't affect kids, and hopefully we can look at that stuff again," he said.
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