BG to try renewal of school levy
Written by By MARIE THOMAS Sentinel Education Editor
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 11:22
The Bowling Green Board of Education has indicated it likely will ask voters in May to renew a property tax levy.
The board on Tuesday adopted a resolution of necessity to renew a 4.2-mill levy that has been on the books for five years. The request will go to the county auditor to certify the amount that would be generated.
When it passed in May 2005, it was expected to collect $2.3 million annually, but that amount has fluctuated over the years due to such contributors as new construction.
The monies collected for the property tax have already been built into the district's five-year financial forecast, pointed out board member Tom Milbrodt.
That forecast, most recently presented to the board in October, showed the district budget remaining in the black through June 2012, but that includes the renewal of this issue.
While it would appear on the May 4 ballot as a 4.2-mill renewal levy, the effective collection rate for the tax is currently about 3.6 mills, according to district Treasurer Rhonda Melchi.
Voters approved the tax five years ago in the form of a 2.3-mill replacement levy combined with a 1.9-mill additional levy.
Superintendent Hugh Caumartin added that as the district develops its budget for next year, administrators will look at it from a cost-management standpoint, "like we always do." Any money that can be saved means less millage needed to operate the district.
"That's exactly what the taxpayers should expect," he stated.
He did not rule out the need for a new levy on the November ballot, but admitted it would be nice if the district could avoid that.
With an eye to the bottom line, the board on Tuesday also approved a resolution seeking to delay the implementation of all-day kindergarten.
The state legislature has required school districts add all-day, daily kindergarten beginning in the 2010-11 school year, but has given districts the option to request a waiver for one year.
The Bowling Green board cited funding and space constraints as its reason for delaying the program.
"There is nothing more that I would like to do than have all-day kindergarten," said Caumartin.
But, the additional cost to the district for personnel would be about $600,000 a year, he said, and there remains the issue of where the classes would be held. The district would need nearly double the space and the staff it now uses to provide the all-day program, he stated.
Bowling Green already offers half-day kindergarten programs in its elementaries.
However, with the waiver, the district also is required to submit to the Ohio Department of Education a plan for full implementation of all-day, daily kindergarten in 2011-12.
Also at the meeting, the board:
¥ Honored district winners in the Wood County Prosecutor's Office Safety Kids calendar contest. Fifth-grader Sophia Petros, Kenwood Elementary; and sixth-graders Andrew Weedon and Alyssa Lugo, both of Kenwood, Morgan Heuker and Jessica Morales, both of Crim Elementary, and Brooke Lay, Milton Elementary, were recognized.
"I've looked at the winners' artwork, and it is amazing," praised Caumartin.
¥ Recognized food services Director Sue Chandler for receiving an Ohio Department of Education Stellar Award for Best Nutrition Practices. Only 19 awards were presented statewide, according to Caumartin.
"Not only is she serving a product that kids like, it's healthy," he added.
The district's food service program is self-sufficient, and pays for staff, food, maintenance and equipment with no support from the district's general fund.
¥ Learned a dedication concert for the district's new Steinway piano is set for Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Tickets will be $5 at the door.
¥ Approved $4,550.18 in change orders for the middle school/auditorium project, mostly for electrical work.
¥ Renewed membership with the Ohio School Boards Association at a cost of $6,866.
¥ Approved a drama club request for members to attend the state thespian conference and competition in March, paid for through a combination of fundraisers and student-borne payments.