St. Marys Says Yes To School Levy

Staff Writer

Ballots have been cast, counted and the residents of the St. Marys City School District have had their say. 

And the result is, “yes.”

By a vote of 55.7 percent (3,082) to 44.3 percent (2,451), voters passed the proposed 1 percent earned income tax to fund the school district. The $2.6 million annually generated by the levy will be used to fund operating expenses for the four school buildings and marks the first new money the school has received since 2004 when an emergency property tax went into effect. 

The district attempted a 1.5 percent earned income tax in May, which failed 59 percent to 40 percent.

“Our community and our school, there’s a lot of really, really great things that we should all be proud of with our school and those come from our students and our academics, our arts and athletics and there’s just a lot of stuff that we can, and should, be proud of,” Superintendent Bill Ruane said. 

With the levy’s passage, programs that were on the proposed “cut list” are in a much more secure position. Those programs — such as ag, industrial arts, music, art and physical education — are part of what makes St. Marys students whole, Ruane added. 

“As we said before, we have students with various interests and talents and it will allow us to keep a lot of the programs that are the reason why a lot of students come to school everyday and why they learn,” he said. 

The new funds also secure safety measures the school has in place including the school resource officer and a mental health professional — safety measures Ruane said are “huge” with the current safety climate in the United States. 

“I am extremely appreciative of the St. Marys community for supporting our students and our school system,” he said. “We are excited to continue to provide these excellent opportunities for our students and continue to hold high standards and expectations while looking to improve in all areas.”

While he is pleased that the levy passed, Ruane said the work is not done yet for the district. 

The past few months have seen strong opinions on both sides of the issue and now the superintendent is asking the community to put differences aside and have constructive conversations.

“I think we need to come together and celebrate our successes and work together to improve the communication in areas where people don’t always see eye to eye,” he said. “We need to continue to have discussion and come together and work through some of those issues.”