MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon school board on Tuesday voted to place a 5.6-mill property tax levy on the May ballot to generate $3 million needed to pay for the day-to-day operating expenses of the district. The cost of the levy to an individual with a home valued at $100,000 would be $171 a year, $14.29 a month or 47 cents a day.
“The district is very much in need of the funds,” said board member Steve Thompson.
“Over the past five years,” board president Margie Bennett elaborated, “the board has cut over $5 million out of the operating budget. We feel that we have cut to the core and that we cannot make any more cuts without really damaging our quality educational programs for students. In February, we will announce a very specific list of what will have to be reduced if the levy doesn’t pass, and what can be reinstated if the levy does pass.”
After hearing a presentation from Kathy LaSota, director of School Board Services for the Ohio School Boards Association, the board voted to contract with OSBA to conduct the “extremely time-consuming” search for a new superintendent and subsequently approved a recommendation from The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County to use Organization Fund Grant money to pay OSBA. Bennett abstained from those votes because she was recently named to the OSBA Board of Trustees.
“I believe the $9,500 we will spend is a valid use of the funds in the account,” board member Jody Goetzman said. “I believe OSBA will bring integrity to our search.”
“A private company has a human resources department which handles executive searches. The board does not. OSBA’s price is well below the $25,000 to $90,000 another firm might charge,” said Thompson. “I think (using OSBA) will ensure a fair and balanced approach and bring us a larger pool of quality candidates. I also like that the process includes early community involvement.”
The board scheduled a work session for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, to begin the superintendent search process by discussing the qualifications and characteristics desired.
During the meeting the board also approved facilities use requests from the Mount Vernon Baseball Association, Freedom Twirlers and Cub Scouts Pack 339. As suggested by board member Paula Barone, the board will take another look at rental fees in the near future.
No further action was taken.
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