At this week’s Chillicothe R-II School Board meeting board members voted to place a levy increase before voters in April.
Darin Chappell, Chillicothe city administrator, spoke to the board about the city’s plans to ask for a 25cent sales tax increase for the police department, he noted that in his experience when two tax-based issues are on the same ballot “there tends to be a synergistic, negative effect” on all tax-based issues. He requested the board place their levy increase on a different ballot.
Board President Lauren Horsman noted that the school board is spending reserve funds to make ends meet and while the district’s funds are not dire at this time, something must be done soon, she said, to address the use of reserves.
“Public safety and good public school are something everyone can agree are vital,” Horsman added.
The board last asked and voters defeated a measure for an 80 cent levy increase in April 2019. After discussion, members said they felt with more community awareness voters would be more receptive.
During further discussion Superintendent Dan Wiebers noted that since 2001 the district’s seen a 32 percent increase in expenditures, but with using an inflation calculator, there is less spending than in 2001.
Pat Jones, board member, made a motion to place the levy on the April ballot, the board voted 5-0 to go forward with drafting language to get the levy increase on the April ballot. Voters last approved a 12 cent levy increase for the district 1998.
At the January meeting, Wiebers said he hopes the board will vote to approve a request for qualification (RFQ) During discussion of the four bids received, members had additional questions, which Wiebers is gathering answers from the firms.
“The important thing to remember is that this new building is not costing the district anything other than the $1,000 deductible,” Horsman said. “The new district office is being paid for out of insurance money.”
Assistant Superintendent Zach McMains presented the calendar, which a committee of district staff had chosen and the board ultimately approved. The school year will begin on Aug. 25 and end May 21, with graduation being held on May 16.
During the meeting, building administrators also announced their nominations for Teacher of the Year and Beacon Award winners. Nominees for Teacher of the Year include Tracy Miller, Field School, Libby Howe, Dewey School, Stephanie Baldwin, Chillicothe Middle School, Nancy Thorne, Chillicothe High School and Jenny Hughes, Grand River Tech. Beacon Award nominees include Vicki Callaway, Chillicothe Elementary School, Kerri Mattox, Field School, Natasha Renfro, Dewey School, Mark The Teacher of the Year and Beacon Award Winners will be announced in a ceremony on at 2 p.m., on Jan. 6 at the Performing Arts Center.