Harper and Adams reelected as West Jeff school board officers

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(Posted Jan. 16, 2020)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

For the Jefferson Local school board, a new year found familiar faces returning to their previous positions and David Harper and Melissa Adams re-elected as president and vice-president, respectively.

Harper, along with fellow long-time board member Dr. Meg Hiss and Mike Quinn were sworn in by Treasurer Jill Williams during a Jan. 13 organizational meeting held before the regular meeting.

While Harper and Adams retained their leadership positions, the decision was not unanimous, with Hiss and Jerry Doran voting against the motions.

In addressing highlights of 2019, Harper said student achievement was significant this year, along with team, class and organization recognitions, changes in financial revenue, and community interaction.

“Obviously, extracurricular programs were recognized, from the league to the district to the state,” Harper pointed out. “It speaks to something that is strongly emphasized. It is driven from the bottom up.

“Community support also needs to be recognized.”

Harper praised the community for their support through approval of a levy to attendance at school-sponsored musical performances. Harper also said the district’s relationship with the village, township and businesses was enhanced through improved communication and collaboration.

In October, the district and the village of West Jefferson reached an agreement to share income tax from industrial park businesses, channeling more development dollars into school coffers.

The agreement set up a process where the village will remit half of the income tax receipts from certain commercial building improvements in multiple Community Reinvestment Areas.

The district is compensated when the village grants property tax exemptions of more than 50 percent for up to 15 years for new or renovated property where the payroll meets or exceeds $1 million.

A month later, voters approved a 3.5-mill levy for new operational funding.

“I believe we need to continue, as we move forward, building our relationships and looking to the challenges (in new development) this year,” Harper said. “We need to continue to work with the village and developers.

“We’re going to be met with a lot of challenges this year. The district has put their trust in us. We will move forward with as much energy as we can to be successful.”

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