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Community leaders head campaign for MCS levy renewals

Serving as co-chairs of the campaign to win passage of two Mansfield City Schools renewal levies on May 2 are Doug Castle, Debbie Schenk and Teana Sykes.

   A retired bank president, a longtime principal and a woman active in school issues are leading the campaign to win passage of two Mansfield City Schools renewal levies on May 2.

   The levies would not increase taxes, only maintain what voters approved in 2013.

   Serving as co-chairs of the levies campaign are Debbie Schenk, retired president and CEO of Mechanics Bank; Doug Castle, former Simpson Junior High principal who now works with Jim Tressel, president of Youngstown State University, and Teana Sykes, who two years ago served as co-chair of the Springmill Learning Center steering committee.

   Also assisting in leading the campaign is Erskine Braggs, community outreach coordinator at Mansfield UMADOAP (Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program).

   Mrs. Schenk, a graduate of Malabar High School, said support for the public schools is a community responsibility.

   “The community must provide the funding that is necessary for the district to provide a quality education for our children,” she said. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that students, parents and teachers count on the community to provide the resources that are needed.”

   Mrs. Sykes said support for the district’s renewal levies is vital to provide the best possible education for students and is equally important for all of Mansfield.

   “Voting ‘yes’ on our levy renewals is not only a vote for our district but also a vote for our community,” she said. “Strong, competitive public schools create intelligent and well-rounded students. They also attract businesses to our city. This creates job opportunities and, in turn, improves our housing market. It’s all connected; we’re all connected.”

   During the board of education meeting on Feb. 21 Castle said passage of the renewal levies on May 2 is “essential.”

   “The district just got out of fiscal emergency. These renewals are not a new tax. They are needed to keep the district moving forward,” he said.

   Treasurer Robert Kuehnle said the two levies generate $7.9 million annually, which represents 13.5 percent of the district’s total revenue.

   “No new taxes are involved. These levies simply would renew what voters already have approved,” Kuehnle said.

   One levy, which generates $4 million yearly, would be for a term of five years. The other, which raises $3.9 million annually, would be for a term of seven years.

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