Calhoun voters are being asked Tuesday to help their school system out of a financial crunch.

The crunch is mostly a funding problem linked to student enrollment. It is causing money problems for school systems, driven by an unchanging state funding formula.

Some administrators say the problem hurts small, rural counties the most.

Voters will decide on a supplemental levy to keep the system operational.

There has been little organized effort supporting or opposing the levy.

The school system has gone directly to the voters.

"You have to live within your means and you don't have an excess levy, you have to live within the state formula," said Calhoun's Superintendent of Schools Ron Blankenship.

Since 1998-99 the local system has lost nearly 300 students and the funding went with them. Since 1999 the school system has cut 14 service employees and 17 teachers because of funding.

Calhoun is one of 13 counties that does not have a supplemental levy.

If voters approve the levy, it would raise about $400,000 a year for the next five years.

Passage of the five year levy will directly pay for teachers and service personnel to maintain curriculum and basic services, while 40% will be used to pay for other areas, maintenance, extra-curricular activities, band, choir, athletics, instructional materials and supplies.

The rates for each class of property will be 9.18 cents per $100 in valuation of class I property, 18.36 cents for class II and 36.72 cents for class III and IV.

The owner of a house appraised at $50,000 with homestead exemption will pay $18.36 annually for the levy. Without homestead exemption, the taxes would increase by $55.08 a year on the same house.