CHAMPION - With the need to make $420,000 in cuts before the start of the 2013-14 school year, Champion Board of Education members said a school levy will be appearing on next May's general election ballot.
On the Nov. 6 election ballot, a 4.95-mill, 10-year additional operating levy, which would have raised $845,485 annually for the district, was defeated by the voters in unofficial results. Provisional ballots will be counted and finalized on Nov. 27 to determine the final election totals.
The district has faced $1 million annually in cuts from the state.
Babette Sisler, levy chairwoman, and other residents attended Monday's meeting, and said there is a need to get the levy back on the ballot next spring to maintain current student services.
''We need to protect our students. The steering committee is recommending that the board place the levy back on the ballot in May. The levy is all about our students and their future,'' she said.
Sisler said the board may want to consider a change in the millage. She also asked the board to have a cost constraint plan in place showing residents what will be cut if the levy fails.
She and other levy members said there will be fewer issues locally on the May primary ballot. The November ballot had the school levy, along with a Champion Township fire levy, state candidates and issues in addition to the national presidential campaign.
Sisler said the levy campaign committee will continue ''to articulate to the voters the need for the passage of the levy.''
The board did not take any official action on placement of the issue on the ballot by Board of Education President Maureen Seafert and other members said the levy will be back on the ballot since the funds are needed for daily operations in the district.
District officials said with defeat of the levy, they will be forced to make cuts in various areas, such as the foreign language program, computer instruction, student clubs and extracurricular activities, art, music, physical education, transportation and athletics.
Seafert said the board and officials have to look at $420,000 in different areas before the start of the next school year. She said if the levy passes in May, the district will not collect that money until 2014. She said the district is hoping that taxes collected from 2012 will come to the district in January will help offset some of the money that is needed.
''If the levy doesn't pass in May, we will have no choice but to make cuts,'' Seafert said.
School officials said the district, like others is facing difficult times with cuts from the state.
Officials said the levy is needed to offset a nearly $1 million loss in annual state funding. The school district has managed to spend wisely but can't tighten its budget enough to offset the state funding loss.
The last time voters passed a new levy was in May 1994, when they approved a 15-mill emergency operating levy.