Warren board lobbies for levy

VINCENT – During its final meeting before the May 6 primary election, the Warren Local Board of Education made another pitch Monday for renewal of a 5.54-mill emergency levy that will generate $1.75 million for the day-to-day operation of the district’s schools.

Renewal of the levy will cost $169.67 a year for the owner of a home appraised at $100,000, according to board treasurer Melcie Wells who confirmed the amount prior to Monday’s regular school board session.

Warren Schools Superintendent Kyle Newton said if approved May 6 this would be the fifth time the emergency levy has been renewed by the community at the same rate since 1995.

“We’ve sent mailers to residents and are putting as much information out there as we can about the importance of renewing this levy,” he said. “We have gone to the community four times in the past for renewal of this levy that provides about 8 percent of our total school budget.”

He said state funding amounts to another 60 percent of the district’s budget, and most of the rest comes through federal funds that are tied to specific needs.

Newton noted one change this year is that the board is asking for a 10-year levy renewal instead of a five-year renewal as in the past. He said new state legislation has allowed districts the option of renewing their emergency levies for more than five years.

“We know we’ll have to come back to the community for another renewal, so we chose to go for 10 years instead of coming back again in five years,” he said. “We want to be totally transparent about this process, and that’s the only change from the previous levy.”

Board member Willie Holbert said the emergency levy does not go for teacher raises or benefits.

“Sometimes people will see that teachers received a raise after a levy is passed, but this is not for raises or benefits,” he said.

Fellow board member Bob Allen noted the 8 percent of the district budget that’s covered by the levy has allowed the district to make many repairs and improvements to school properties.

“A lot more needs to be done, and we could not do it without that 8 percent of our budget,” he said.

In other business Monday, the board approved 192 Warren High School students for graduation, pending completion of all state board of education requirements. The high school’s commencement exercises will be held 7 p.m. May 23, at the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center on the Marietta College campus.

Also on Monday, sixth grade English and language arts teacher Barbara Schafer was recognized as a nominee for Teacher of the Year in the Southeast Region by the Ohio School Boards Association.

“The Teacher of the Year program was created to honor, promote, and celebrate the teaching profession,” said Paul Mock, Southeast Regional manager for the OSBA.

He said the association will choose one of the nominees from across the state to represent Ohio as the 2014 Teacher of the Year.

“It’s a difficult decision-all of the nominees deserve to be a Teacher of the Year,” Mock said.