The Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education announced several dates at its meeting Monday that will give the public a chance to learn about the district’s upcoming levy.
As recently reported, the WCHCS Board of Education is placing a seven-year, 1 percent income tax levy on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. If the levy passes, it would allow WCHCS to maintain current academic programming for local students, as well as temporarily eliminate the need to make dramatic cuts to programs and services across the district, according to district officials.
Announced during the meeting Monday, the public will be able to attend “Levy Information Tables” at parent/teacher conferences throughout September and October. Currently, the information tables and voter registration forms (only through Oct. 7) will be available on Thursdays, Sept. 12 and 19 at Belle Aire from 4 to 7 p.m.; on Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Washington High School and Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the Washington Middle School from 4 to 7:30 p.m.; and on Thursdays, Oct. 17 and 24 at Cherry Hill from 4 to 8 p.m.
“Some people don’t want to sit through an entire meeting when they only have one small question, also many are more comfortable asking a question one on one instead of in front of a large group,” Trevor Patton, WCHCS director of marketing and communications said. “The information tables are set up so people can have more of a casual conversation about the levy and why the district is in need. When the state average for school operation levies in Ohio is every three years, and we haven’t had a permanent increase to operating expenses in 28 years, we know people have plenty of questions. So, instead of asking the people to come to us, we’re going to the people and setting up these information tables so they don’t have to go out of their way to get their questions answered.”
According to WCHCS Superintendent Tom Bailey, the funds would be used to support the day-to-day operations that the district is responsible for maintaining. This includes paying for utilities (electric, heat and water) as well as facilities, staff and supplies.
Essentially, the funds for this levy would not be going toward construction of new facilities but toward maintaining services to the current ones, according to officials. Although property taxes were examined, the income tax is believed to be the best option.
There was a levy on last year’s November election asking for a permanent 1 percent income tax for operating expenses but that levy failed.
“You can also register to vote and find your polling place at the information tables,” Patton said. “It takes less than a minute, our volunteers are more than happy to assist you in filling them out, and we are even taking them to the Board of Elections so you don’t have to. The registration information and voter registration tables can be found at all parent teacher conferences, as well as at other community events, such as football games and the Scarecrow Festival. The tables are all being staffed by volunteers, and we’d love to have more. If anyone would like to volunteer, they can contact us at the WCHCS Central Office at 740-335-6620 during school hours and we’ll get them signed up to help.”
Also during the meeting, two retirees were acknowledged. Mark Brobeck was recognized by the board for 36 years of service as a special education teacher, and Deborah Wolfe is retiring with 30 years in food service for the district. Wolfe addressed the board during the meeting and said that she worked with a good crew and saw a lot of great kids come through the schools. Board president Ken Upthegrove thanked Wolfe for her service to the district and said that those same kids will remember her for the rest of their lives.
Other business approved during the meeting included the acceptance of thousands of Auditor of State fund dollars, acceptance of thousands of dollars in donations, and employment for 35 positions, including five substitute teachers. Additionally, various policies were under review, which included several revisions or new policies and will have recommendations at the next regular board meeting on Oct. 21. These policies for review include employment of the treasurer, use of tobacco by administrators, adult and community education, school choice options, attendance, student mental health and suicide prevention, use of tobacco on school premises and small unmanned aircraft systems.
Finally on the agenda, two upcoming board meetings were highlighted. The first of these is the State of the District, which will be presented during the Monday, Oct. 21 regular board meeting. The second is the Five Year Forecast, which will be presented at the regular board meeting on Monday, Nov. 18.
Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of the Washington Court House City School Board of Education.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.