Hubbard, Mathews school districts weighing options after levies fail

VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – Two school districts in Trumbull County are figuring out the next steps after voters rejected their requests for additional funding.

Mathews Local Schools was turning to voters to pass a bond issue that would help fund the construction of new buildings, including the nearly 100-year-old high school.

Right now, the district is operating out of aging buildings and is spending money just to maintain them.

“This is a great district out here. Our kids deserve a little more than we’re giving them right now,” said Superintendent Lew Lowery.

For the past four years, the Mathews School District has been pushing for a tax levy to build a new school for all of its students.

About 52 percent of voters turned down the 7.5 mill bond again Tuesday night. A little less than 4,000 people voted, and the difference was just 147 votes.

“The last time we had this out there, it was defeated by 392 votes. This time it was 147, so I guess we did change a few minds,” Lowery said.

The board of education met Wednesday night to discuss the next step. Many came to the meeting emotional, some even crying.

Lowery says he’s disappointed about the bond issue failing, but understands the community is divided over the issue.

While most seem to agree that a new school building is needed, not everyone agrees with how to pay for it.

Some say they want a new school but simply can’t afford the tax increase. School leaders plan to try to convince voters otherwise by this spring.

“We would have until February 1, I believe, to file with the board of elections if the board did want to do this in May. So I’m sure this will be a conversation we’ll have between now and then,” Lowery said.

He says the board is tying to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

In Hubbard, the district was hoping voters would approve an additional 7.1 mill levy to offset the $1.4 million cut from its budget at the state level. That levy also failed.

“I’m moving forward. We are going to our level best to maintain our excellent education program and look to make cuts that are least impactful on those programs,” said Hubbard Superintendent Raymond Soloman.

This was the first time since 2001 that Hubbard Schools has asked taxpayers for new money to cover basic expenses. Voters rejected the levy by almost 55 percent.

Hubbard Schools also plans to meet with its board of education and have the levy back on the ballot in May.