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Early voting period ends for Wayne excess levy

Nov. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

WAYNE -- A little more than 2 percent of eligible voters in Wayne County cast their ballots during the early voting period regarding the renewal of a 63-year-old excess levy for the county's school system.

A total of 127 voted during the last day of the early voting period Wednesday, and a total of 613 people cast ballots during the 10-day early voting period, said Brenda Osburn, Wayne County deputy clerk for voters registration.

Wayne County has 30,215 eligible voters, Osburn said.

The excess levy has been renewed every five years since 1950.

Polls will be open for regular voting from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at voting precincts throughout Wayne County.

The measure that will be on the ballot is based on property assessments done by Wayne County Assessor Eric Hodges. While the levy rate will not increase, the actual amount the levy provides to the school system could increase as property values increase.

The levy accounts for between 13 and 15 percent of the school system's nearly $70 million annual budget.

When the levy was passed in 2007, the levy brought in a little more than $7.3 million annually. If it is renewed by voters Saturday, it is likely to bring in about $8.9 million a year.

The levy has funded the cost of textbooks, library books, classroom supplies, computers, assistance with playgrounds and Local School Improvement Projects, extracurricular activities and student health services. It also helps cover the maintenance budget, which includes utilities, repairs and maintenance of facilities.

The excess levy also provides the additional funds needed to hire enough educators and support personnel to meet the needs of the students, school officials say. This includes paying custodial staff to care for schools when they close for the summer and to prepare them to open each August as well as paying for additional teachers for overflow classes.

The levy also provides funding for administrative positions that are required by law but aren't funded by the state, according to school officials.

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