Salem school board to put levy renewal on November ballot

SALEM – The Salem school board took the first step in seeking renewal of an existing emergency levy for operations.

The board approved a resolution Wednesday asking the Columbiana County auditor’s office to calculate the necessary millage to raise the $2.1 million per year through a renewal levy they want to place on the November ballot.

Since it’s just a renewal, district taxpayers won’t pay any more than what they’re already paying for the emergency levy. To place the levy on the ballot, the board will have to pass a second resolution after securing the needed information from the county auditor.

Voters approved renewal of a permanent improvement levy last May. A second emergency levy for operations will be up for renewal in November 2015.

District Treasurer Jim Wilson said recent tax receipts were on par with what they expected and he’ll be going over the five-year forecast at next month’s meeting, tentatively set for May 19.

Board member Howard Rohleder reported the Audit & Finance Committee and Wilson met with state auditors recently about this year’s audit of the district’s books and got a “clean bill of health.”

Superintendent Tom Bratten kicked off the meeting by noting they were honoring this year’s retirees, who were given plaques for retirement and service by the principals in the buildings where they work. The list of retirees and any service awards they received includes: Jim Fattler, head custodian at the central office, 30-year award; John McKee, maintenance staff, 30-year award; Kay DelFavero, junior high secretary, 30-year award; Sue Ricciutti, second grade teacher at Buckeye; Diane Drapcho, art teacher at Buckeye and Reilly, 25-year award; and Chuck Suchey, intervention specialist at Southeast, 35-year award.

The board also recognized fifth grade student Kyla Jamison from Southeast School for winning the National Elks Hoop Shoot Contest in Massachusetts, winning the 10/11 girls division by sinking 24 of 25 free throw baskets. She’ll be giving a speech in New Orleans as a guest of the Elks and have her name placed on a plaque at the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

In other business, the board agreed to pick up the increase to the total amount of the employee contribution to state retirement for certain administrators per their contract. Wilson explained that the board pays the employee portion as part of the salary package for some administrators and since the state increased the percentage of the employee contribution, the board had to pass a resolution to pick up the increase.

In personnel matters, the board: approved continuing contracts and limited contracts for teaching staff; hired Charles Eriksen as a 3.95 hour bus driver; approved Heidi Wilhelm as a tutor for a homebound student; hired Elizabeth John as a substitute teacher; named Kelly Wright and Bill Pritchard as substitute bus drivers; approved Morgan Cook as JV softball coach, Steve Miller as baseball assistant coach, Mike DeBarr as JV baseball coach and Matt Catania as baseball volunteer; and non-renewed several substitute teachers.

The board also non-renewed contacts for Steve Bosel, in-school suspension, and Rich Washinko, guidance. Bratten explained that it’s routine for the in-school suspension contract to be non-renewed in April, then filled at a later date. He said Washinko had aleady been retired and came out of retirement for a one-year period to help out with a guidance counselor vacancy.

The board accepted a gift from Bob and Linda Sebo of $5,700 for the purchase of shoot-a-way equipment for the boys and girls basketball programs at the high school. The board also approved ticket sellers for track meets.