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School, Business Issues To Be Decided on Tuesday

Updated: Tuesday, May 7 2013, 08:28 AM EDT
COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday across central Ohio, when hundreds of issues will be decided, many of which affect schools and businesses.

Ohio voters in 74 counties will decide several local races and 351 local issues, including 138 school issues, as well as a number of tax levies , bond issues, and charter amendments. Columbus City Council and School Board races will also be decided on Tuesday.

While many Ohio school issues appear on state ballots, the only Franklin County district  represented is Groveport Madison, which is asking for a $5.5 million emergency operating levy. 

Groveport Madison Board President and levy chair Mary Tedrow said, if the levy fails, the board will have to cut around $ 4.5 million from the budget, including at least 20 teaching positions, as well as programming, busing for high school students, and extracurricular activities. 

According to district officials, the levy would cost a home owner $216 annually for every $100,000 of property value. 

“We understand the economy has been tough on families, but the value of our homes is related to the value of our schools," Tedrow said. "If we are supportive of the schools, our homes are worth more."

Superintendent Bruce Hoover said the levy committee did not buy any signs this year to influence voters because they are too expensive, but hopes the district's message of strong families, strong communities, and strong schools will come across loud and clear. 

“We link all three to each other in order to create a future for our kids,” Hoover said. 

A Groveport Madison operating levy failed in 2011. Since then, district officials said teachers and administrators have not been granted raises, and have picked up more of the cost of their health benefits.

Controversy has been brewing over non-school-related issues on the ballot, as well, including multiple liquor options in the Clintonville area.  Issues 1A and 1B concern weekday and Sunday sales at the Global Gallery, and 2A and 2B cover weekday and Sunday sales at Mozart’s Café, a yet to open location on North High St. 

Mozart’s has long been known in the Clintonville area for its bakery café. Now owners are about to open a 12,000-square ft. restaurant and piano bar just north of their old location.  Managers have posted signs urging customers to vote yes on the issues. 

Global Gallery manager Renee Morgan said she hopes the issues pass so she can expand offerings to her customers. 

“To have a drink with dinner helps calm people down, and a drink can complement your meal.  I think it will improve business a little too,”  she said.

But some customers said they would prefer that no more alcohol is served in the area. Opponents include social worker Michael Coconis, who has lived in Clintonville for 12 years.

“Alcohol is everywhere, and it can easily lead to harm in families," Coconis said. "It is a stepping stone to trouble.”

According to the Liquor Control Commission, if voters turn down the options, the same questions can not appear on a ballot for at least 4 years.  If the issues pass, customers would likely see liquor served a the establishments around 12 weeks after ballots are certified.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and close at 7:30 p.m.  School, Business Issues To Be Decided on Tuesday

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