Mathews board plans levy meeting

By Jordan Cohen

VIENNA — The Mathews board of education has scheduled a meeting for Jan. 27 to approve a five-year reduced-replacement levy and discuss the permanent closing of Neal Middle School.

Superintendent Lee Seiple said the levy of 7.8 mills replaces and reduces the previous amount by 0.1 mill.

“We’ve replaced and reduced this amount several times since I became superintendent 10 years ago,” Seiple said. “At one time, it was 9.7 mills.”

The superintendent said he expects the board to agree with his recommendation to permanently shut down Neal at the conclusion of the school year. Last summer, Seiple called Neal the most expensive school in the district to maintain and warned it was “deteriorating rapidly.

“The board previously gave me a direction [regarding] Neal, and I expect by next spring we’ll have an official board motion to close it,” Seiple said.

He added that he is looking at ways of restructuring the remaining district buildings, including using another facility in the area for seventh- and eighth-grade gym classes.

The superintendent also revealed that the board has no immediate plans to resubmit the 8.1-mill levy that would have financed more than $22 million in loans for building construction. The levy was rejected by 59 percent of the voters — a margin of more than 500 votes.

“I think the board would like to wait and see what the reaction is to our 7.8-mill replacement levy before deciding whether to resubmit a bond issue,” Seiple said.

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