By Joe Olenick
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
MIDDLEPORT — The Middleport Free Library will be appealing to the state education commissioner the decision to put its tax levy on the May school ballot.
Royalton-Hartland Superintendent Kevin MacDonald said the district was served legal papers from the library on Thursday morning. Roy-Hart has three business days to respond, which MacDonald said it will do by Monday.
“We’re in the process of doing so,” MacDonald said. “And we’ll go from there.”
MacDonald said the library is also asking for a stay on the May 15 vote. The tax levy would be removed from the ballot if state education commissioner John King were to grant the stay. MacDonald was unsure when Roy-Hart would hear a response from the commissioner’s office.
In an effort to have a more stable funding source, the library board of trustees in 2010 asked the district to levy $103,000 from residents. That would have been an increase of about 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The request was approved by the school board in December 2010. According to state education law, a school district must comply with such a request.
The levy vote passed in June, but many residents said they didn’t know about the vote and questioned how it was promoted.
The library board of trustees and board president Carolyn Wagner have said the tax levy vote was handled according to the law.
A petition signed by 192 residents was presented to the Roy-Hart school board last month asking for a levy proposition to appear on the May 15 ballot. The proposition, if approved by district voters, would reduce the levy from $103,000 to zero, thus eliminating it altogether.
Roy-Hart board members voted last month to put the library tax on the ballot as a second proposition. On May 15, school districts across the state will be casting ballots on budgets, for board elections and on other propositions.
Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.