By Mariana Silva
Stow — The Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education took one more step toward putting a renewal levy on the November ballot during the June 11 Board meeting.
If approved by voters this November, the 10-year, 7.84-mill renewal will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $240 a year, according to the Summit County Fiscal Office.
In a 4-1 decision, with Board member Rod Armstrong casting the dissenting vote, the Board approved a levy resolution to ask voters to approve the renewal levy to raise $7.3 million annually.
The renewal is for a five-year, 7.3-mill levy that expires by the end of 2012. The levy raises $7.3 million annually.
Treasurer Catherine Bulgrin again told the Board and the public that the levy is not a new tax and that the district is not asking for something homeowners aren’t already paying.
“I know this is not a new tax,” Armstrong said. “My concern with this levy is that it is 10 years. This takes away taxpayer control over the levies and all the renewals.”
Armstrong told the Board he would rather ask voters for less money and for a two-year levy.
Board member Karen Wright said there are currently too many variables to state funding and that asking for less money or for a two-year levy, like Armstrong proposed, is not viable.
“If you don’t get it now, you have to come back to voters every two years [...] there is also a cost to putting it on the ballot,” Wright said. “I don’t think that in the near future Columbus is going to give us a boatload of money to remedy our troubles. I don’t want to want to get to that trouble point.”
However, regardless of approving a renewal for the levy expiring by the end of 2012, the district will be asking for another renewal in two years, Bulgrin said.
A 4.6-mill levy expires in 2014.
“What we are faced with, over a five-year period trying to pass new money in this community, was voter fatigue,” Bulgrin said
Bulgrin said the district is looking at a spending deficit in three years, and in five years the district may be needing new money.
“If we were keeping this levy for just two years and then going to add the other one to it, we would confuse the voters because now we would be asking for [11 to 14 mills] which again is expensive for us to get the message out,” Bulgrin said.
Under the section of the meeting reserved for citizen comments, parent Kimberlee Vaughan of Stow told the Board she removed her daughter from the school district after her fourth-grader was allegedly bullied by another student at Woodland Elementary School.
Vaughan told the Board she and her daughter told several staff members at the school about the alleged bullying but that no disciplinary action was taken to stop verbal and physical assaults.
Superintendent Dr. Russ Jones told the Stow Sentry the school district has a no tolerance bullying policy for all school buildings.
“We don’t tolerate bullying and when we become aware of it, we remediate it immediately,” Jones said.
He added the district is currently in the process of reviewing its bullying policy.
The first reading of the updated NEOLA policy regarding bullying as well as other policies were up for first reading in the June 11 meeting.
While Vaughan spoke, Board president Karen Powers told her she had only about 30 seconds left to speak and gaveled the mother when she reached three minutes of addressing the Board.
Janice Patterson of Stow told the Board Vaughan’s comment could not be limited to three minutes because the June 11 meeting was a community meeting.
In an email to the Stow Sentry, Powers said since the beginning of her term, “the Board has always adhered to the three minute limit, except for rare occasions, regardless of whether it was a regular meeting or a community meeting.”
She wrote this is done in an effort to keep the business section of the meeting flowing efficiently and to allow enough time for all of those who wish to speak.
Also during the meeting, the Board also watched a presentation by a representative of Energy Education, who showed how the district could save money by implementing the program. Energy Education looks at how the district can negotiate lower rates, employ alternative energy solutions and consumption practices to lower costs.
The Board approved Jennifer Rahde’s resignation as a music teacher effective the end of the 2011-12 school year, and the employment of certified substitutes and the employment of certified personnel for the elementary summer reading intervention program. The employment of the 11 certified personnel is pending enough enrollment.
The employment of other certified personnel and supplementals as well as a non-certified supplemental resolution were also approved by the Board.
K-8 School fees for the 2012-13 school year were also approved. The fee is not to exceed $35.
The Board also had the first reading of several updates to the NEOLA Board policies and to textbook adoptions.
Bus driver Jen Carlton was also recognized during the Board meeting for placing 12nd in the 2012 Master State Road-E-O Roster.
The Board met in executive session to discuss personnel compensation. No action was taken after the meeting.
The next Board regular meeting was scheduled for June 29 at noon but has been canceled. The Board will have a special meeting June 28 at 6 p.m. at Central Office instead.