MOUNT GILEAD — School Board members voted unanimously to place a .5 mil income tax levy on the Nov. 6 ballot. The ½ mil levy will be for five years.
Mount Gilead Schools Superintendent Jeff Thompson said there will be a levy committee to get out the message of the need for additional funds. He welcomes people who are interested in serving on the committee to call the district office.
Thompson that the primary problem recently for local school districts has been that state and federal tax revenues have been cut, and at the same time the state places new, unfunded mandates or requirements on schools.
Morrow County Board of Elections Office Director Penny Porter confirmed that the present .75 income tax levy was placed on the ballot in 1994. It was renewed as a continuing levy in 2009.
In other business:
• Parent Darcie Hendrickson expressed concern about the number of children in elementary classes. She said as a former kindergarten teacher, she realizes the importance of learning in the early grades for reading.
Hendrickson said she thinks the larger number in the early grades is part of the problem in the four children who failed to pass the third grade reading guarantee testing this year. She is concerned as her child goes into the second grade. She asked if this levy will make a difference in having more teachers.
Thompson said the problem of funding teacher positions will be a priority for funds when the new levy passes. He said this levy should take care of financial problems and teacher staffing for future years.
• Treasurer Tonya Boyd received approval from the board for a new insurance company for the district. Boyd met with several companies and found the best value in coverage from Ohio School Plans. This gives the district a savings reduction of $13,000 from the present company.
• The board also approved an increase of 10 cents in school lunches for the school year 2018-2019. The board also gave approval to the superintendent for the employment contracts of 16 teachers, staff and supplemental contracts.
• Contracts for mentor teachers, nursing staff and other services were also approved for 2018-2019. Automatic step contracts for administrators were approved by all board members except Mike Sayers who voted ‘no.’
• Board member Denny West asked if it was possible to shop around for a better contract than the North Central Educational Services contract. That annual contract of $269,350 is for required services such as Occupational Therapists and children with Individual Educational Programs (IEP.)
Thompson replied that they had looked at all the service centers a couple years ago and found that North Central was the best they had found. It is an “overall cost saving” over Mid-Ohio, which was the service center used in the past.
• Edison Village Council member, Jeremie West asked if the school board had made a decision on what they will do with the Edison School property. He said village council would like to make it into a park for the community. Thompson said the question of what to do with the property would be addressed in the executive session following the board meeting.
• At the close of the meeting, board President Virgil Staley thanked those who sent cards and supported him and his family after his wife, Josie, passed away last month.