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Emergency levy renewal on November ballot

MILLERSPORT – It’s now official. Walnut Township Local School District voters will be asked to renew a five-year emergency levy on the November 8 ballot.

The levy, which currently brings in $250,000 a year, will continue at that level for the next five years if voters approve. The tax rate or millage has actually declined thanks to increased property values and new construction. The millage five years ago was a bit over two; it will now be 1.9 mills.

District treasurer Kirk Grandy told board members at their July 25 meeting that the district finished the year about $70,000 better than anticipated. Grandy is being shared with Berne Union School District as will new superintendent Dale Dickson when he takes over from Ron Thornton this fall.

In other business July 25, board members unanimously approved breakfast and lunch prices for the new school year. “Prices have to go up a nickel,” Thornton explained. The small increase was federally mandated. The new prices are:

• Elementary breakfast: $0.75

• High school breakfast: $1.00

• Breakfast for students qualifying for reduced price: No charge

• Adult breakfast: $1.25

• Elementary lunch: Type “A” – $1.95; Pizza, sandwich, entrée- $1.75, milk or juice-$0.40

• Lunch for students qualifying for reduced price: $0.40

• High school lunch: Type “A” – $2.30; a-la-carte: Sandwich, pizza, entrée-$1.75, fruits, vegetables, dessert-$0.75, milk or juice-$0.40 and juice machine-$1.25

• Adult lunch (without milk): $2.50

Board members also approved a K-6 workbook/supply fee of $30. It’s been unchanged for the last four years. Instructional fees for the middle and high school were also approved. They are also unchanged from last year.

A contract with New Horizons Youth and Family Center was approved for a new program that provides an Intervention Specialist to implement the Teen Screen Program. It focuses on teenage students who may be at risk for suicidal tendencies and other mental health issues. The new program costs $14,000 a year, but the cost to the district will be just $1,000 as a Lancaster donor is picking up the rest of the cost.

Board members also agreed to share engineering costs with the Village of Millersport concerning drainage issues along Laker Drive. The village is planning to resurface the badly deteriorated roadway, but must first resolve chronic drainage problems originating on district property.

In personnel actions, board members:

• Employed Jennifer Kusmer as junior high science teacher filling the vacancy created by appointing Jeff Stought high school principal;

• Accepted the resignation of Randy Brown as junior high school math teacher and head girls basketball coach;

• Approved supplemental contracts for Kusmer as junior high volleyball coach, Alison Picklesimer as high school student council advisor, Kim Yenni as spelling bee coordinator, Charles “CJ” Schmitz as head girls basketball coach and Bill Yates as senior class advisor;

• Approved Dina Reasoner as volunteer high school yearbook advisor; and

• Recognized volunteer coaches – Amy Butts-cheerleading and Christopher Mays-football.

In his report, Thornton said it appeared that the high school will have a football team. Twenty eight players have signed up, but that could change as practice gets underway. He said maintenance/ transportation supervisor Mike Washburn has asked about buying a new pupil transportation van. The current one has about 170,000 miles on it. Thornton said the district is setting up bus routes with the intention of not replacing a school bus driver that resigned last year. So far it appears that adding just a few minutes more to each route will do it.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 18 in the elementary music room. Board members cook breakfast for teachers that day which is the first day back for teachers.

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