School board votes to put levy on ballot

By Jordan Cohen


Mathews Board of Education will try again to convince voters of the need for a 2-mill permanent improvement levy despite the issue’s defeat at the polls last month.

The board voted Tuesday evening to place the levy on the May 2011 ballot. The vote was unanimous.

“Our needs have not changed, at least not in a positive way,” said Kenneth Wallace, board president.

In November, the same 2-mill levy was rejected by a margin of 441 votes out of more than 2,900 cast, nearly the same margin of defeat as a $22 million bond issue for new-school construction rejected in 2009.

During a board meeting the day after the November defeat, several parents accused the board of not doing enough to publicize the district’s need for the levy.

Superintendent Lee Seiple said previously the revenue would be required to cover the costs of improvements to Mathews High School necessitated by the closing next year of Neal Middle School and the transfer of some of its students to the high school.

The board vote is the first of two required to place the issue on the ballot. The second vote will take place at its January meeting.

In another item, Seiple said the district has already used two of its allotted three “calamity days” because of the heavy snow. In response to a parent’s question, the superintendent said he does have the option of putting the district on two-hour delays, but decided against it Tuesday because of the continuing heavy snowfall.

“I’m going to do my very best not to put your children in danger,” Seiple told the parent.

The superintendent said if the district exceeds the three-day limit, classes will have to be made up at the end of the school year.

“If we use 10, we’ll have to make up seven,” Seiple said.

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