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Springfield district seeking levy renewals

5/22/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

LAKEMORE — The Springfield Local School District is placing three five-year levy renewals on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot after approval from the Board of Education at the May 20 meeting.

Superintendent William Stauffer explained one request is a $930,000 emergency levy, the second is a $1.6 million emergency levy and the third is a 7-mill levy that generates more than $2 million annually for the district. The emergency levies collect the specified fixed dollar amounts no matter what valuations are, while the other levy is collected at a millage rate that depreciates over time, Stauffer said.

Revenue from the levies is used to fund general operations, and all of the levies are due to expire Dec. 31, 2015, he added. General operations include salaries and benefits, transportation, purchased services and supplies.

Stauffer stressed the levies are not new taxes and will not increase taxes for property owners in the school district.

“These levies generate a total of almost $5 million for the district,” said Stauffer. “It would be a huge hit to our budget and we would have to make significant cuts if they were not approved. These levies are needed to keep us solvent and in order to stay in the black.”

Board member Dave Hofer stated the three levies represent about 18 percent of the district’s budget.

Board President Bobby Dinkins added it has been 13 years since the district has asked for new money from taxpayers.

“That is a testament to what [district] leaders have done in this district to stay in the black,” said board member Glenn Wieland.

Stauffer said district leaders are “looking at every penny we spend” and intend to “never go back to fiscal emergency.” The district was in the state’s fiscal emergency category from May 16, 2007, through Nov. 22, 2011.

Stauffer said the five-year forecast to date shows the district will remain in the black through fiscal year 2018.

Also at the meeting, Business Manager Dan Laskos reported renovations to Spring Hill Junior High School are underway to convert it into an elementary school. Students in seventh and eighth grades at that building moved into the new high school on Canton Road in January. Roosevelt Elementary classrooms, which include first through fourth grades, are expected to be moved into Spring Hill in mid-July, and Roosevelt, which is the district’s oldest building, will be closed.

Stauffer said the August board meeting will be held at Spring Hill to allow visitors to see the improvements made to the building.

Stauffer also reported site work behind the new high school is continuing and is expected to be finished in August. That work will increase parking available at the school and improve traffic flow, he added.

In other business, the board approved:

  • the transfer of $46,350 from the General Fund to the Locally Funded Initiatives Construction Fund;
  • an updated five-year forecast;
  • the 2014 list of 173 graduating seniors to receive a diploma;
  • a three-year service agreement with Healthcare Process Consulting Inc. to manage the district’s Medicaid school program, effective July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2017, at a cost of $12,000 per year. Stauffer said the program generates more than $100,000 for the district;
  • membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the 2014-15 school year;
  • the resignations of district librarian Dodi Zbuka, effective June 30, and Carol Tolson as an extended school year 2014 teacher;
  • the retirement resignations of classified employee Charles Kinsinger, effective June 1; and teachers Nancy Roberts and Susan Stein, both effective July 1;
  • the employment of Kenneth Hopkins, Terry Merrell, Alicia Benninger and Andrea Stem as substitute bus drivers, pending proper licensure; certificated personnel Lisa Moretz and Dennis Poor (substitute) and classified personnel Mary Calcel, Angie Minear, Kathy Ray and Dennis Poor (substitute) for extended school year summer school 2014; and summer school instructors Jodi Burgess, Michelle Hanna and Joel Nichols on an as-needed basis; and
  • the acceptance of $500 from school psychologist Don Bell and the Civitan Club to purchase an iPad for the district’s Special Services Department and $50 from Speedway on Canton Road to be used to purchase gas to help transport homeless students.

The board adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel, with no action taken.

The next regular board meeting will take place June 17 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at Springfield High School, 1880 Canton Road.

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