South Range schools to seek 3.9-mill levy in November

BEAVER TOWNSHIP- South Range residents will be asked to approve a new money levy on the November ballot.

The school board Monday night agreed to place on the ballot a 3.9-mill, 10-year levy that will generate $707,560 in an effort to battle a projected cash balance deficit of $610,000 in fiscal year 2017 and $1.59 million in 2018. The district’s deficit spending is projected to grow from $15,000 this year to over $983,000 in 2018.

Board members Bruce Zinz and Ed Pierson were absent.

Voters rejected a 4.8-mill, 10-year emergency levy that would have generated $857,500 annually 66 percent to 34 percent in November 2013. Schools Superintendent Dennis Dunham said open enrollment and other cost saving measures made it possible to lower the millage for the upcoming levy.

“But the need is still very real,” he said.

The district has gone 10 years since the last new money levy for operations- and is entering the fourth year with an absolute pay freeze for employees. Treasurer Jim Phillips noted at the June board meeting that the district had previously passed new money levies every eight years, with three current levies on the books.

In other business the board accepted the retirement effective Sept. 1 of accounts payable clerk Marilyn Wenger, who has been with the district the past five years, hired Ken Ahlquist as a tier 2 bus driver and granted a supplemental contract for Samantha Meier as middle school cheerleading advisor.

The board also approved a third one-year contract with the Nutrition Group for food service management. Phillips noted that the cafeteria ended the past year with an unencumbered balance of $8,160.39 after finishing last with a deficit of more than $14,000.

Additionally the board approved a credit card policy, which had not previously been needed since the district had no credit cards. The board also granted permission for the high school cross country team to attend a team camp Aug. 18 through 21 at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula, Ohio.

Also at the meeting the board fielded a request to recognize the South Range Gridiron Club as an official organization. The group formed in 2013 to support the grades seven through 12 football program through financial contributions and promotion, serving as a supplement to the athletic boosters and South Range Foundation. The board agreed to consider the request and act upon it at the August board meeting.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Aug18 in the K-12 campus band room.