UPDATE 11/20/2013 5:00 PM
The Frontier voters made it very clear, but now come the cuts.
It could come to possibly combining elementary schools and dropping art and music classes.
With the loss of the levy for Frontier Schools during the last election, Superintendent Bruce Kidder says the schools will not survive as they are now.
These cuts will not affect this school year or most of 2014.
However, in 2015, Kidder says the possibility of combining three elementary schools into one is on the planning board.
"The quality will be fine, I think we do a nice job educating as it is," he says. "We will be able to maximize our resources better, that will allow us - in my mind at least - saving on probably five or six teaching positions."
Kidder says this will hurt the community school concept that Frontier has worked so hard to maintain, but it is expensive to run three elementary schools and if they don't make some drastic changes they will completely run out of money.
Other options include taking programs out of the high schools, but Kidder says he really doesn't want to do that.
UPDATE 11/06/2013 05:10 PM
Frontier voters soundly defeat an emergency school levy on a six to one margin.
The key question is, what now?
This isn't just about a failed school levy in tough times.
It's as much about tough times affecting this district.
The community is hurting and torn on the issue.
This levy was the talk of the town Wednesday.
Six times more people voted no than yes.
Those who voted for the levy, are passionate but say they know why people voted no.
Those who voted no, understand the need but are not sure how to fix it.
Long time board member Jeff Lauer says the school district is in great need of new supplies, money for busing and more.
With the economy and the closing of Ormet, a lot of people in the community lost their jobs.
They have no extra money to pay the levy.
Lauer says there are a lot of reasons and everyone has their own opinion why they voted each way, but the community needs to work together or a levy is never going to pass.
"Ormet closing, that didn't help matters any, a lot of people they are still fighting community wise," he says. "We do have two areas, three areas not working as a whole you're going to have controversy."
"And I even support the people who didn't because I understand where they are coming from. Like I said I'm working two jobs and I can't afford to pay anymore either," says Brenda Heiney, a classroom aid at Newport School. "So I have mixed emotions both ways, but we do have to do what's best for our kids - they're whats going to be our future."
Community members outside Newport Elementary Wednesday were torn - many feeling strongly about the issue but not wanting to talk on camera.
One mother says she is concerned about her daughter's future in the school system.
She said without this levy passing she may remove her from the district because she has no other choice.
But everyone seemed to understand why it didn't pass - the money in the community is just not there. ____________________________________________________
Taxpayer money is tight.
That makes it tough on school levies.
Renewal levies aren't a given anymore and it's a steeper hill to climb when districts say they need new money.
What makes this issue different from others is that it is an additional levy - one which some we've spoken to consider excessive
It is for 9.19 mills and it is the first additional levy the Frontier School system has sought in 14 years.
But the superintendent says the additional money is needed, in part to offset losses of state and federal funds.
And, in recent years, the school system has had enrollment declines.
"Frontier was over a thousand students about 10 to 12 years ago. We're down to about 720," says Superintendent Bruce Kidder. "I believe a lot of that is because of the economics in the area, and families having trouble finding jobs."
But a voter we spoke to, who says he has supported levies in the past, has his doubts about this one.
"By adding this much to it, it takes my taxes up to over $1200 in one lump sum," says Newport resident Tom Watkins. "I don't mind a levy, but not one of this magnitude all at once."
The ballot language says the levy, if passed, would add 91 cents to a person's property tax bill, for each $100 of the value of his property.
Kidder adds the school system has made spending reductions in recent years, including not filling some teacher jobs which became vacant due to retirements.
The superintendent is concerned about what effect recent economic news will have on the levy vote, both with the recently announced closings at Ormet Aluminum across the county line, and the ongoing dispute in Washington over the federal budget.