COLUMBIANA New school superintendent keeps busy

Patricia Hura has been busy meeting community leaders, attending school functions, and promoting a levy on Tuesday's ballot.
COLUMBIANA -- Helping to pass the tax levy that will be on the ballot Tuesday is just one of the tasks that's been keeping the Columbiana school district's new superintendent very busy.
In her first month on the job, Patricia Hura is already wishing for days with more than 24 hours in them.
"It's exciting, and there just aren't enough hours in the day," Hura said. "I'm here until 5 or 5:30 and I go home for awhile and then come back for a basketball game."
Hura began her duties Jan. 2 but spent a few days over the Christmas break meeting with retiring Columbiana Superintendent Dr. Joseph Rottenborn.
"Everyone has been very nice and very helpful," Hura said. "I couldn't ask for nicer people.
"There's been a lot to learn, and there are so many little details," Hura said. "I find myself wishing for a note board that would drop down in front of me when I think of something I need to jot down.
"Then there are the days you have everything planned, and then something happens and you have to set those plans aside," she said.
Getting to know people: Hura has spent most of her time getting to know the people of the school district and the community. She has met with school administrators and teachers and community leaders, and attended civic meetings and school events, including a debate tournament and basketball games.
While getting acquainted, she has been promoting the district's five-year, 1.6-mill permanent-improvement levy, which will be on the ballot Tuesday in a special election. The levy would replace the current levy that expires in December, Hura said.
Hura said that over the years the permanent-improvement levy revenue has been used to purchase items such as new textbooks, computers, desks and floor tile. Permanent improvement money cannot be used to pay salaries or benefits, she emphasized.
Hura said the district needs new school buses, and extensive roof repairs are imminent at both Joshua Dixon and South Side Middle School.
She said that although two buses are 2001 models, others are 1998, 1992 and 1990 buses. If one of those is out of service, the replacements are 1983 and 1985 models.
Hura said taxpayers could actually pay less with the replacement levy in place than they now pay on the current permanent-improvement levy. The tax reduction is due to increased property values in the district, she said.
Hura said that if voters approve the replacement levy, the tax collected for the levy on a $100,000 home, for example, would increase from about $28 to $49 per year. She said, however, that the millage adjustment for increased property values would result in a $24 reduction.
With the replacement levy in place then, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $25 rather than $28 per year.
Specific amount: As Treasurer Lori Posey has explained, permanent-improvement levy millage is set to raise a specific dollar amount. She said millage on the permanent-improvement levy will decrease as property values increase.
Posey said the replacement levy would generate about $192,000. She said the permanent-improvement levy now in effect is a five-year levy first passed in 1987. It has been renewed three times since then and generates about $120,000 annually, she said.
Since the current levy was first passed in 1987, the property values in Columbiana have increased, so the millage has been reduced from 1.6 mills to 0.9 mill, Posey explained.
If the board opted to ask for renewal of the levy rather than a replacement, the dollar amount raised would remain at about $120,000, she said.

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