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Emergency School District Levy to be on Ballot in May 2013

Board_Office

By JOHN?BADEN
Record Herald Writer
Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 12.23.12

TIPP CITY – Tipp City voters will see an emergency levy for their school district at the polls in May 2013. The board of education decided Monday night to put a four-year, 4.95-mil levy on the next ballot.

The discussion started with a special meeting on Dec. 13, where the board reviewed input from almost 170 community emails. Kate Johnsen tabulated the emails into the following suggestions:

Twenty-eight people wanted high school busing eliminated, while 31 people said that the school should increase busing to a 2-mile radius district-wide.

Thirty-two people said no to increasing class sizes, and 43 people were all for increasing the pay-to-participate fees. Twenty-two people supported reducing custodial services

Twenty people wanted to continue the staff wage freeze while 17 said to discontinue it.

Fifteen said to just freeze contributions to staff insurance and benefits.

Eighteen voiced their say in keeping elementary specials in the school’s integrated arts,

Eleven were all for combining administrative positions or eliminating the guidance, assistant principal and business manager positions while another 11 suggested administrators pay for an equal portion of benefits.

Eight people supported reducing library and administrative personnel, and nine suggested the consideration of an income tax when planning the levy, which the board has decided to explore later on down the road and, as of now, stick to a real estate tax.

As to making cuts, board member Carla Frame encouraged the board to look at the school’s current financial situation and need from a cost-savings standpoint. As a result, the board spent time looking at efficient ways to save money through school costs.

One area of interest that the board focused on was a health savings account program because the members believed that was an area in which they could save a good amount of money.

The board also proposed a working list of cuts that they believed needed to be made to balance the budget until a levy is passed. It turned the list over to Superintendent Dr. John Kronour, who met Friday with administrative staff to work with the list before getting back with the board on Monday.

At the Monday meeting, while throwing the same number on the ballot as in August was appealing to President Tom Merritt, board member Frank Maus said that he wanted a “success number,” a figure that would get a yes from voters, unlike this past August.

In a special election on Aug. 7, a 5-year, 7.95-mil levy failed by a large margin – 63 percent against, 37 percent for.

Merritt’s only concern with a lesser amount was concession, the idea that the school would have to make more cuts with an amount lower than 7.95 mils and give the perception that it didn’t really need 7.95 mils.

Superintendent Dr. John Kronour said that it only made sense to go for a lesser amount if the school was not interested in bringing back any previous cuts, including staff positions.

Board member Scott Dixon believed that some cuts could be brought back with a lesser levy amount with possible savings from a health savings account program, into which the board is currently exploring.

Due to the voter’s reaction, board member Kate Johnsen said that lessening the levy milage to 4.95 for May is the best choice.

“One of the hardest things you do as a board is find what the public will bear, and I think we’re in one of those circumstances now,” Johnsen said.

The next step in the process will be to file two resolutions to Miami County Board of Elections by Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m.

Nothing else has been set in stone, but the board will further discuss and finalize what the school will cut when they meet in January.

 

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Tipp News
Mike McDermott is publisher of several web news properties, including this one. Long time resident, and local business owner, Mike McDermott lives in the downtown and fiercely defends Tipp City's honor at home and abroad.
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