JACKSON TWP. "Safety continues to be the top priority and we are moving forward with safety and security measures."
Jackson Local School District Superintendent Christopher DiLoreto made that statement because he is adamant about continuing to implement the many safety and security measures without the additional funding the passage of the Safer Schools Safer Students levy would have provided.
The 1.49-mill continuous property tax levy was on the ballot for a special election on Aug. 7. Voters in the 16 districts with the levy on the ballot rejected the levy. The unofficial results show voters in the 16 districts, which Jackson Local was one of the 16, voted 22,993 against to 7,024 for the levy.
The levy would have been managed by the Stark County Educational Service Center (SCESC). It would have provided funding for additional safety and security measures.
"I think there were two factors that had a negative effect on the vote, one, the levy was continuous and second, the 2018 tax reappraisals on real estate come out right before the special election," DiLoreto said. "We’re going to continue implementing a number of initiatives. The passage of the levy would have secured long term sustainability for our safety and security measures."
The list of safety and security measures starting with the 2018-19 school include the following:
- Putting resources officers in every building in the district for the school year. DiLoreto said the district is partnering with the Jackson Township trustees and the Jackson Township Police Department for this measure.
- Implementing the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation’s suicide and anonymous tip line for grades 6-12.
- Using the phone Alertus mass notification system to alert internal stake holders of an emergency. DiLoreto said there are two phases for this measure. Phase I will be implemented at the start of the school for the notification of students and internal staff. Phase II will combine the Alertus with the current One Call system to notify parents of a crisis. The district’s goal is to have it operational sometime during the new school year.
- Implementing a digital citizenship learning system for parents and students and stakeholders to learn about Internet safety and social media challenges. Learners can access the system remotely.
"We have one full-time counselor on staff now that will be serving the four elementary schools and we are adding one full-time counselor at the middle school and one full-time counselor at the high school," DiLoreto said. "Expenditures for all of these initiatives will come from the district’s general operating fund.
"Jackson Local will continue to build on excellence. We have momentum for the new school year with excellence in the three A’s, academics, arts and athletes. I hope everyone has a safe and successful school year."
About the Safer Schools Safer Students Levy
The levy would have included the following school districts: Alliance, Fairless, Jackson, Lake, Louisville, Marlington, Massillon, Minerva, North Canton, Northwest, Osnaburg, Plain, Sandy Valley, Tuslaw, Brown in Carroll County and Strasburg Franklin in Tuscarawas County.
According to www.saferschoolssaferstudents.com, there were 13 student suicides last school year in Stark County. National experts such as the Center for Disease Control have declared teen suicide rates for the area as the worst on record since tracking began in 1980.
The levy could have been used by the individual school districts to fund additional security staff and school resource officers, additional mental health resources and staff, increased digital citizenship education for all students K-12 and crisis management resources including mass notification systems, access control systems and improved physical security.
The Canton Repository reported on Aug. 8 that the SCESC "won’t put the levy on the ballot again in November."