Springfield BOE places income tax on May ballot

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

SPRINGFIELD TWP. The Springfield Local Schools Board of Education approved a resolution during its Jan. 12 meeting to place a 0.75-percent, 7.7-mil income tax on the May ballot.

The 7.7 mills, officials say, is what it took to cover the $3 million needed to not make the drastic cuts needed by the end of this school year. The income tax would raise $2,722,487.

A discussion was held prior to the passage of the resolution weighing different options. Board President Neal Hess said he "hates being rushed" on making these decisions and wished the Board had more time.

“I don’t want to make the cuts that we will most likely have to make if nothing passes in the spring," he said. “It is just a tough situation,” said Hess.

Superintendent Chuck Sincere said the district looked at the income tax alternative and a property tax increase. The income tax had to be submitted by two resolutions 100 days prior to May 4.

Board Member Chad Lance said people have talked about doing something different than a property tax levy.

“We didn’t pick the millage, we picked the amount we needed to run the district," Lance said. 

Treasurer Chris Adams reported that the 0.75-percent income tax would certainly help in not making so many cuts. He said it will save jobs and programs “that are dear to the hearts of the community.”

Adams said the district would be able to reduce cuts immediately and eventually bring back some programs that have been cut do declining revenue.

In other business:

• A letter was read from resident Eric Stewart. He thanked the board for its hard work in a difficult situation and the members do for the district. He wrote that coming from a family with teachers and as a resident he could understand “both sides of the fence and the ups and downs” that educators face. He said during his volunteer time at the schools the staff seems to care about the students. The position the schools face is terrible. He said he personally knows three of the board members well and he trusts them.

• The board approved a variety of personnel items that included retirement resignations, employment reassigns, resignations, college credit plus instructor stipends, supplemental contracts, and tenure.

• The 2021-22 school calendar was approved.

• A memorandum of understanding with Kent State University for the College Credit Plus program for the 2021-22 school year was approved.

• The board continued membership in the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) for the year. The annual membership dues are $6,821. Also approved was joining the OSBA Legal Assistance Fund at a cost of $250.

• A memorandum of understanding with the Springfield Local Association of Classroom Teachers (SLACT) with guidelines for the reopening of school during the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2020-21 school year. Sincere said teachers and administration got together and worked extensively to work out an agreement for the start of school. They came up with safety protocol. The teachers reviewed it and approved it.

• Approval of a memorandum of agreement with Summit County Public Health for the district to serve as a Point of Dispensing site was approved. This is a plan for a mass vaccination if needed in the future.

• Business Manager Dustin Boswell reported that the district is providing devices to all students in grades 7 to 12 that they will be using on a daily. He said it will help move toward going to a more paperless society. Boswell also reminded community members that meals are available at Door J at the high school for children through the age of 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those are provided by reimbursement by the USDA.

• Sincere thanked families and the staff for keeping up with the safety protocols to make the attending school safe. He said the students returned to in person school on Jan. 5. Parents still have the option of remote learning. He meets once a week with Summit County Health and they qualify to continue in person.

• Before the regular board meeting the board held an organizational meeting. Hess was elected as president and Larry Petry as vice president.

• Lance was appointed as a board member for Portage Lakes Career Center for a one-year term and Dave Hofer will be the legislative liaison. Other committee members will be appointed on an as need basis. Dates were set for the year’s board meetings of the third Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted. Meetings will be held at 6 p.m. with place to be determined. Standard yearly procedures were approved.

The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Feb. 16. To view the entire meeting and discussion of the income tax verses the levy go to the Springfield Spartans You Tube channel or on Spectrum TV channel 1023.