United BOE acts on permanent improvements

HANOVERTON- The United Local school board will be moving forward with permanent improvement projects during the next fiscal year now that two new building bond issues and a permanent improvement levy have failed.

The board in May approved its annual Management, Goals and Objectives for June 2013 through June 2014, guiding its spending process for the year. The board has followed its Management, Goals and Objectives for the past 25 years, keeping the general fund in good shape, according to Treasurer Kathy Davies.

In addition to general fund spending, the Management, Goals and Objectives indicate permanent improvement funds. Since the board has been attempting to pass the levies, it has not approved much permanent improvement spending, hoping instead that residents would approve a new school. The board now has $1.41 million available for projects, and have approved $1.68 million in projects over the next year. The district’s income tax generates $298,000 annually.

“We have x number of dollars to spend (for permanent improvement),” Davies said. “We haven’t spent a lot of PI money the past few years because of the levy attempts, but we’re to the point now where the board is ready to start moving forward and making repairs.”

Superintendent Steve Viscounte said the projects target safety of students and increased technology. Projects include security gates and door fobs, a web-based security system and a door security system, as well as replacement of visitor bleachers and windows that are no longer safe for students and community members.

The projects also include e-text books and one-to-one devices for all incoming freshman beginning in the fall in the form of laptops that the students use to access text books for all core subjects. The laptops will be turned in each summer for maintenance and upgrades and there is a residual value for the machines following graduation.

In conjunction with the computer upgrade last year making the campus online test ready, the technology is putting the district in good shape for future spending, Viscounte explained.

“When these mandates (online testing) take effect, we won’t get buried by costs we can’t afford,” he said. “A lot of schools will be hurting, but we’ll be ready.”

Despite the district’s ability to address a lot of immediate issues, Viscounte said the “patch and run” philosophy the board is now employing is not healthy for the school facilities.

“We’ve got to start addressing these things, like our 40-year-old boiler and windows that need screwed in,” he said. “It’s not renovating; it’s taking out and putting in new that will help the building run as safely and efficiently as possible.”