Jefferson Local Schools will seek levy renewal; Harper honored

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Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
Jefferson Local Schools Superintendent William Mullett (left) presents David Harper with an award recognizing his 22 years of service as a school board member.

(Posted June 14, 2022)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Seven years can pass by quickly. For a Jefferson Local School District levy committee, it’s time to start of the process of seeking voter approval for renewal of an emergency levy first passed nearly 40 years ago.

On June 13, school board members passed a resolution of necessity, the first step toward putting the seven-year substitute levy on the Nov. 8 ballot.

“I want to emphasize that this levy is asking for no new taxes,” said Superintendent William Mullett. “The only difference with a substitute levy is it allows the district to collect taxes on new growth.

“And folks will still get the benefit of the 12.5 percent exemption on their house which wouldn’t happen if the levy failed and we’d have to go for a new one. I think people appreciate that fact.”

At their July meeting, the school board will take the second step toward putting the levy on the ballot with a resolution of intent. Once that happens, a citizen-led committee will start the campaign process which does not involve school financial resources. The campaign is funded privately.

During regular action at the June 13 meeting, the board accepted the resignation of David Harper, who is stepping down after 22 years as a school board member.

“It is with great pleasure and sadness that I wish farewell to long-time board member Dave Harper,” Mullett said. “He’s going to be greatly missed. You can’t really replace people like Dave. He’s an institution.”

In one of his last comments as a board member, Harper applauded the work of Treasurer Mark Ingles and his staff in turning the district’s financial tide out of deficit spending and laying the groundwork for long-delayed employee raises.

“We are on pace to finish with a surplus this year for the first time in many years,” Ingles responded.

The board accepted nearly a dozen donations, including a $27,821 donation from the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office for installation of nightlock door security stoppers for all facilities in the district.

Board members also approved changes to Norwood Elementary School’s report cards as requested by Principal Sue Barte.

“We’ve made some report card changes this year,” Barte said. “We felt the need for every grade level to revisit their report cards. A lot is really format changes. Some (teachers) tried to simplify. We combined some language to help families.”

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