West Jeff schools prep for fall levy

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At a special work session on Aug. 18, members of the Jefferson Local Board of Education discussed the upcoming levy and a proposal to save money on energy bills. 

The district will request continuance of a 0.5 percent income tax on the November ballot. Some income that is currently taxed, however, would no longer be taxed if voters renew the levy: interest, dividends, social security, pensions, and rental income, among others. The change would cost the district $100,000 a year.

“This is really, in many ways, pointed towards our senior citizens and those people on fixed incomes,” Superintendent William Mullett said. “This is a great benefit for them.”

Because the kind of income that would be taxed is different, the proposal will appear on the ballot as a new proposal rather than a renewal, although the rate would stay the same at 0.5 percent.  

The board discussed ways to promote the levy and get information about it out to the community.

Also on the agenda was a plan to save on energy bills in the schools. Representatives from Sabo/Limbach Energy Services of Columbus presented a proposal designed to make the school buildings more energy efficient. According to their preliminary estimate, the district pays above the average for Ohio schools in utility costs, and could save a significant amount of money. The board did not take an official vote but agreed to move forward with the project without signing any binding agreements at this time.

Mullett said the district was “being proactive, looking at our bills and saying, ‘I think we can do better’…With the kind of savings that are projected, it’s going to save our district and taxpayers a lot of money over the year.”

Other news

The board discussed ways to make sure all athletics coaches in the district have Athletic Pupil Activity Permits, which are now required by state law. To get the permits, the coaches have to get training in CPR as well as undergo the usual background checks.

Because it’s a new system, Mullett said, there have been some problems putting it into place. Under the current rules, the coaches cannot be paid unless they have obtained a permit, although they can coach if they are still in the process of getting one. The board agreed to pursue a policy that by next spring would keep coaches from doing any coaching until they have the permit.

“If there were…some immediate need for a coach to do CPR or something like that and he hadn’t had that training, then certainly that would not reflect well on us,” Mullett said. 

The board also reviewed insurance issues with the Frey property, which has been made available on a limited basis for community use.

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