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UPDATED: Prosecutor's Office OKs Renewal Levy for May Ballot

Prosecutor Charles Coulson said there was confusion over when the district would be allowed to ask voters for a renewal

Mentor Schools received a brief scare this week when officials heard that they may not be able to place a renewal levy on the May 7 ballot.

The Lake County Prosecutor's Office informed the district Friday morning that the 8.84-mill renewal levy could go on the ballot as planned. The office had previously advised the Lake County Board of Elections that Mentor Schools would have to wait for the 2014 expiration of the current levy before it could ask voters for a renewal.

"We told them that it appeared that they couldn't put it on, but we found that isn't correct," Prosecutor Charles Coulson said. "It was an error in having all of the facts."

The issue deals with the years in which the district would collect revenues from the levy. The prosecutor's office initally believed that the problems began in 2008. According to a News-Herald report, a memorandum from the prosecutor to the elections board stated that the levy was improperly placed on the ballot in 2008, a year before the levy would finish collecting revenue.

“It is unfortunate the confusion surrounding our renewal levy occurred, but we were always confident we had filed the levy under the authority of the law,” Superintendent Matthew Miller said in a statement. 

Voters first approved a five-year emergency levy in 2004, then renewed it in 2009. It brings in about $15 million per year. The district also hopes to renew a 1-mill permanent improvement levy that brings in about $1 million per year.

District CFO Daniel L. Wilson previously said the district would need a new levy by the 2015-2016 school year or it would face a $30 million deficit.

“We are pleased the prosecutor’s office worked quickly to rectify this issue so we can move forward," Wilson said.

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