BOE: School tax may go to voters again in spring

LISBON –Voters could be asked again to pass a proposed 1 percent school income tax as soon as May, according to  Superintendent Joe Siefke.

“That is something we’ll have to give some thought. The situation isn’t going to remedy itself, and it’s something we’ll have to look at in the spring,” he said following this week’s school board meeting.

The meeting was held two days after voters rejected a proposed 1 percent school income tax 55.8 percent to 44.2 percent. The tax, which would have run for 10 years, is needed to head off a deficit situation school officials say could arrive in 2019 based on financial forecasts.

The tax’s defeat came up during the meeting, with Siefke and board members saying that while they were obviously disappointed by the results, they still believe the $759,000 a year it would generate is needed. “We’ve got a lot of decisions to make fiscally as we go forward. The problems that existed Tuesday haven’t gone away,” Siefke said.

Board President Gene Gallo praised the tax committee and Siefke for their efforts. “The committee and Mr. Siefke, and our treasurer, did an outstanding job” of promoting the tax and informing the public, he said. “There was no way the committee could have done a better job.”

The next regularly scheduled election is the May 2017 primary.

In other business, Siefke reported he and representatives from Leetonia and Southern Local school districts attended a drug-related program hosted by the Family Recovery Center, local police and Columbiana County Municipal Court Judge Chris Amato. He said the schools would like to develop a “scare straight” type of program, where students would be exposed to a series of speakers and programs to warn them about the consequences of using heroin.

The school district already has an anti-drug DARE program for middle school students, and some state legislators are saying similar programs are needed at the elementary school level too.

“The best thing we can do is empower our teachers to talk to the students. That has the biggest impact,” Gallo said.

The board also:

— Accepted $4,200 in donations from the Lisbon Lions Club to be spread among the varsity sports. Board member Jim Smith said service organizations such as the Lions Club and Eagles and booster organizations are vital to the success of their teams.

“The village is really supportive, and that’s very important,” he said.

–Heard from technology director Adam Fill, who updated the board on the new One View program, that provides parents with the opportunity to receive all school papers electronically. This eliminates the problem of students losing or forgetting to bring papers and permission slips home for their parents to sign.

“You know the first week of school they get a stack of papers like this,” Siefke said, showing an imaginary stack six inches high, “and some make it home and some don’t. Now the parents can fill out these forms without even having to go through their children.”

Parents have the option of receiving the documents electronically. A computer is made available in the administration office for parents to use if they do not have the Internet at home.

–Awarded varsity head coaching contracts to Doug Andrice (baseball), Dave Crismon (softball) and Jim Tsilimos (track and field). Tsilimos replaces Kyle Bing, who was named athletic director this past summer.

–Announced the prom will be held May 5 at the Tangier in Akron, with the after prom to be held at Cedar Point the next day. Participants will be transported by charter buses paid for through fundraisers held by the junior class parents.

–Announced graduation will be 3 p.m. May 28.

–Accepted retirement notices from two long-time teachers, Beth Gallo and Carol Snyder.