BOE takes first step to place income tax on ballot

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — A resolution of necessity was approved during Tuesday’s Sidney City School Board of Education meeting. The resolution was the first step in putting an income tax levy on the ballot which would raise $2,609,518 annually for the district, said Treasurer Mike Watkins.

“The resolution will go to the Ohio Department of Taxation which will verify what it takes to raise that amount,” aid Watkins.

The school district is conducting an online survey asking residents for their opinion on how to raise funds for the district. The income taxproposal received the most positive results, said Watkins.

More than 1,200 distract residents responded to the survey. A total of 831 people said they lived in the school district and had children enrolled in the district. Another 438 responded that they live in the district but don’t have children in school. A total of 158 people said they didn’t live in the school district.

Of those starting the survey, 796 people completed it.

Watkins said they are estimating it will take a 0.50% income tax levy to raise the needed funds.

District resident Jessica DeWeese voiced her frustration with the district’s mask mandate. She said she had requested that her child not have to wear the mask — first based on a religious belief and then as a medical concern with a letter signed by a chiropractor — where denied.

Board President Bob Smith told DeWeese that “masks are not a popular thing.”

“There are two exemptions for not having to wear a mask — religious and medical,” he said “The burden falls upon you for the religious reason. A chiropractor doesn’t qualify to have the ability to sign the medical exemption.”

Director of Business Operation Jason McLain told the board that the district’s employees are currently installing new lights in all the buildings.

“We were able to purchases the bulbs for 10 cents each,” said McLain.

The energy efficient lights have already been installed at Whittier at a cost of $1,948. If an outside agency had done the installation it could have cost the district more than $16,000. It’s estimated that it will cost the district — through its employees – $4,000 to put in the lights at Emerson and Longfellow. The outsourcing amount would have been between %11,000 and $22,000.

McLain said it will cost the district about $16,000 to install the lights district wide. If it was outsourced, it would have cost the district between $42,000 and $85,000.

The lights have a 5-year warranty.

Brooke Gessler, director of curriculum, shared the new programs that will be established in the district. All costs will be paid by grants this year. When the programs are renewed each year, grant money will pay for the costs.

The board approved PowerSchool product subscriptions, which include PowerSchool for PowerPack at a cost of $6,540.65; Enrollment Express at a cost of $10,134; Ecollect forms at a cost of $6,756; and a one-time implementation and setup fee of $6,490 for the period of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.

The board also approved the purchase of Active Panels from Empower Learning at a cost of $596,392, including installation and professional develop,et. A total of63 classrooms will have the Active Panels installed in them.In personnel items, the board accepted the resignation of Annette Schulz, substitute aide; awarded a one year contract to Jenny Coverstone, lo incident/bus aide at $16.61 per hour effective Jan. 5; hired Brandy Allen, substitute cook, $10.62 per hour, Stacy Yeager-Jackson, substitute aide, $12.33 per hour, and Jason Kelly, substitute custodian, $14.79 per hour, on an as needed one year contract basis; and awarded a supplemental contract to Scott Shirk, freshmen boys basketball coach, $4,085.

In other business, the board:

• Heard the legislative report from board member Mandi Croft.

• Heard the Upper Valley Career Center report from board member Michele Lott.

• Set the organizational meeting for Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. at Sidney High School.

• Appointed Gessler as president pro tem for the organizational meeting.

•Approved students for graduation with the class of 2021.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.