2014-02-15 / News

Community meeting on tax levy set for March 23

By Charles Prince

BALTIMORE – Liberty Union-Thurston School District voters will have an opportunity to learn more about the renewal of a .5 percent district income tax at a community meeting from 2 - 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, at the district administration office.

The measure is on the May 6 ballot, but voting begins April 1. “This is a renewal issue, not a new tax,” Superintendent Paul Mathews said.

The district has a permanent 1.25 percent income tax that voters approved in 1988. In 2005, voters approved an additional 0.5 percent as a five-year levy and it was renewed for another five years in 2010.

Voters are now being asked to permanently renew that 0.5 percent portion of the tax. Mathews has said that the total 1.75 percent tax is “necessary to insure the financial stability of the school district” hence the request to make it permanent. The 1.75 percent income tax represents almost one quarter of the district’s revenue, at $2.9 million. The district’s annual budget is more than $12 million. The Ohio Department of Taxation has certified that the 0.5 percent portion should generate $725,000 annually.

Monday night, district treasurer David Butler told board members that income tax revenue from July 1, 2013, is up about $90,000 from the previous year. “We’re finally just ahead of 2009,” he added.

During last month’s organizational meeting, board members elected John Hutton president and Shaun Hochradel vice president.

Hutton’s committee assignments for 2014 were announced Monday night:

• Athletic Council - Shawn Shook and John Walter;

• Transportation - Shook and Walter;

• Land Lab - Hutton and Shook;

• Buildings & Grounds - Hutton and Shook;

• Finance - Hochradel and Caryl Caito;

• Personnel - Hutton and Hochradel;

• Legislative Liaison - Hochradel;

• Policy Review - Caito

• Board representative on Baltimore’s Parks & Recreation Commission - Walter; and

• Negotiations/Labor Management - Walter and Caito.

Board members also approved two resignations for retirement purposes effective May 30, 2014. Elementary school teacher Karen Walter and technology coordinator Linda Young were thanked for their years of service.

Supplemental contracts were approved for:

• Joe Muck and Susan Steffen - 6th grade outdoor education;

• Mike Schmidt - head baseball coach;

• Bill Putnam - head softball coach;

• Krista Azeltine - head boys track coach;

• Renee Mangette - head girls track coach;

• Seth Williamson - jr. high boys track coach;

• Susan Steffen - jr. high girls track coach;

• Ashleigh Miller - varsity assistant track coach;

• Jacob Kemmerer - varsity assistant track coach;

• Shawn Parker - head boys soccer coach; and

• John Starr - head girls soccer coach.

Board members also approved an additional 102 hours of counseling at a cost of $5,610 from New Horizons Mental Health Services for elementary school students. The original contract provided 420 hours. Mathews said there are nearly as many students on the waiting list for counseling as being served under the current contract.

Transportation supervisor Judy Cleland said the district’s first propane-fueled school bus should be delivered next month. Three proposals have been received to install a 1,000 gallon tank at the bus garage. The district hopes to commit to a propane supply this summer. “Now is not the time to lock in rates for propane,” Mathews said. The new bus can be refueled at the Flying J Truck Stop until the district secures its own propane supply.

Michael Burns and Jessica Dupler were honored as the costudents of-the-month. Burns, a junior, is the son of Don and Sheila Burns. He is active in FFA at school and 4-H, gymnastic and drumming. Burns plans to study agricultural engineering at OSU.

Dupler, a senior, is the daughter of Robin and Vickie Dupler. She is active with Family, Career and Community Leaders of America at school. Dupler volunteers daily with the Multiple Handicap unit at the high school. She plans to attend COTC to become a registered nurse.

The board’s annual “workshop” meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22. The meeting features presentations by all three principals and each department supervisors.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, March 10, in the district office behind the elementary school.

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