2-mill Salem schools renewal won’t raise taxes

SALEM – A 2-mill permanent improvement levy on the May 7 ballot won’t cost Salem school district taxpayers any additional money since it’s a renewal, school board vice president Steve Bailey said.

The renewal will actually generate less for the school district than it did in the past, board member Howard Rohleder added.

“We’ve been pretty good stewards of that money,” Bailey said.

The topic of the levy renewal came up during the board meeting Monday night at Southeast Elementary School, where students from the Southeast Singers opened the meeting with the singing of the National Anthem. The group had performed the National Anthem during a recent Phantom’s hockey game at the Covelli Centre.

The permanent improvement levy first came on in 1983 and was last renewed by voters in 2008 for a five-year period. The board is again seeking renewal for five years. The amount to be generated previously by the levy was $320,900, but according to the amount certified by the Columbiana County Auditor’s Office, the renewal this time will generate an estimated $298,100 per year.

Bailey explained that some of the permanent improvement projects planned for this summer including recoating roofs on buildings, the second phase of board’s part of the Reilly Wall project, which for the board will include some paving for handicapped parking spaces, windows at Buckeye Elementary, school security initiatives, track resurfacing at Reilly Stadium, a new bus and iPads.

Southeast Elementary teachers Jennifer Milliken-Dees, Wendy Higgins and Mary Beth Shivers and Principal Lisa Whitacre made a presentation to the board regarding the use of iPads in the classrooms and how the use of the technology is helping them reach the goal of making the students more competitive for 21st century careers.

They showed programs the students made using the iPads to work on problem solving in the area of anti-bullying, to work on assignments before getting to the classroom so class time can be spent asking questions and making sure students understand the concepts they’re studying and for better communication with students and their families.

In personnel matters, board members recognized longtime Transportation Director Tom Mather for his service to the district. Mather resigned effective Monday to take a job with the Marlington school district as a bus mechanic. A mutual agreement was approved to allow him to temporarily work in both places for the next week for a transition.

“We’re going to miss him greatly,” Superintendent Tom Bratten said, noting he’s given good service to the community.

The board approved the hiring of retired Buckeye school Principal Dennis Niederhiser as the transportation supervisor. He’ll be paid $3,500 through the end of the school year.

The board approved the non-renewal at the end of the school year of substitute teachers Tricia Brewer, Christine Fennis, Carol Lantz, Judith McKee and Robert Viencek. Substitute teachers hired for the 2012-2013 school year included Cael Benedict and Anne Eidam. Limited contracts were approved for 40 teachers and the resignation of Roxanne King as a part-time assistant at the Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing was accepted.

The board also authorized an increase in the employer pickup of employee retirement contributions for five administrators, including the superintendent, to reflect a statewide change in the employee share from 10 percent to 11 percent of their salary for the State Teachers Retirement System. The pickup is considered a fringe benefit of their contracts.

Donations accepted were: $500 from Bob Sebo for the Salem High School wrestling team; 28.85 tons of dirt from Masonry Materials Plus for the high school baseball field, valued at $634; $75 worth of food donated by Gary and Elizabeth Leininger of Lisbon Dairy Queen to feed the varsity baseball team; a donation of books valued at $1,613 from the Missing Semester via George Spack for use in the classroom; $322 from the Junior High PTO to the junior high principal account; a donation of t-shirts and hats valued at $425 from Mike Craven to the varsity baseball team; and a donation of 52 volunteer hours from Stacy Shannon to the junior high via the Verizon Employee Engagement Community Champions Program.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at mgreier@salemnews.net.