Board approves levy resolution

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — The second resolution needed to place an income tax levy on the May ballot was approved Tuesday night by the Sidney City Schools Board of Education.

The proposed income tax levy would raise $2,609,518 annually for the district if approved by voters.

“This is the second of two required resolutions to place the levy on the May ballot,” said Treasurer Mike Watkins.

The ditricted tried three times in 2020 to get a property tax passed for the district. Each try was unsuccessful.

“This levy has nothing to do with the cuts the board will have to make,” said newly-elected board President Jason Schaffner.

Watkins said the resolution has to be at the Shelby County Board of Elections office by Feb. 3. Since the board’s only January meeting was Tuesday, they had to approve the resolution at the meeting.

“The amount we’re asking for is based on the things the board is doing now to cut expenditures,” said Watkins.

two residents of the school district — Cheri Epperson and Tracy Landrum — talked during the public participation portion of the meeting.

Epperson had three questions for the board which she wanted answered by the end of the week.

The questions included how many students attend Sidney High School including online students and those at Upper Valley Career Center; how much does a Chromebook cost which students were to receive Wednesday; and how long does it take to update items on the Sidney City Schools website.

Board member Mandi Croft pointed out that the Chromebooks are not costing the district any money as a grant is paying for them.

When asked those questions Wednesday morning, Superintendent Bob Humble said there are 1,043 students in grades 9-12. Of those, 928 attend class at Sidney High School; 115 students attend Upper Valley Career Center. The UVCC students, he said, are not receiving Chromebooks.

The cost of a Chromebook, he said, is $224.

Items on the SCS website are updated by whoever is in charge of specific pages, he said.

Landrum questioned where job postings for the employment of aides are. She said she had an email from Humble that said they would be found on the district’s website but she couldn’t find it.

Humble told Landrum that the district is now going through the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center for the employment of aides and the job postings are on the MRESC’s website.

Landrum was one of 70 classified aides and IT department staff who saw a reduction in force (RIF) in May. She was an aide with the district.

“How are we supposed to find opportunities if we were RIF’d?” she asked.

Croft asked if an aide is hired through the MRESC if they were guaranteed a job in the Sidney City Schools.

“No,” said Humble. “If we decide we don’t need the aide position then they could work for another school district.”

Humble said the aides will be employees of the MRESC.

When questioned after the meeting, Humble said the school district is part of the hiring process with the MRESC. The MRESC will select the person in consultation with Sidney City Schools, said Humble.

“The Sidney BOE does not approve the hiring,” he said.

Humble also said “aides do not have recall rights in a city school district by Ohio Revised Code.”

On the agenda, Taylor New was hired as a parttime aide. Humble said she was hired by Sidney City Schools but is the last aide they will be hiring as all future hires will be done by the MRESC. Any future hires by the MRESC will not appear on Sidney’s board of education agendas.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted the resignations of A;an Straman Sidney High School custodian, and Jamie Whited, Sidney High School aide.

• Hired Taylor New as a parttime aide at $13.69 per hour, effective Jan. 5. She received a one-year limited contract.

• Heard Croft update the board on the legislative report.

¶ Heard Michele Lott update the board on the Upper Valley Career center December meeting.

The next board meeting will be Feb. 16 at 6 p.m/ at Sidney High School.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 947-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 947-538-4822.