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McDonald schools ask voters to renew levy

Published: Mon, April 22, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Ed Runyan



Approval of a 3.85-mill, five-year renewal levy May 7 will let McDonald Local Schools bring back several teaching and support employees eliminated two years ago because of the district being in fiscal emergency, said Superintendent Ken Halbert.

The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $117 per year. It will generate $200,147 per year.

With approval, the district will bring back a half-day special-education teacher at the junior high. The levy will allow the district to continue the police presence in the school that began Feb. 1 with a McDonald police officer in the schools full time.

The district had to eliminate 14 supplementary positions two years ago but hopes to restore nine of them for positions such as adviser to academic clubs, sports coaches and safety patrol.

“We want to be excellent in academics, the arts and athletics, in that order,” Halbert said.

The district would bring back from three-eighths time to five-eighths time a technology teacher; and from five-eighths to full time a music teacher who works with elementary music, high school instrumental music and marching band.

In the category of mandated costs, the district would spend $40,000 to add a 50-station computer lab at the middle school that would be used for students to take achievement tests online as required by the state by 2015.

The state also has mandated additional staff training.

The district also would use the money for permanent improvements to its buildings.

McDonald voters first approved the levy in 2007 to avoid a deficit. It was 4 mills at that time. It’s one of three emergency levies approved by voters, including a 5.1-mill five-year emergency levy to generate $260,000 approved in November 2009 and a 10.75-mill, five-year levy to generate $580,000 annually, passed in May 2011.

The 2011 levy was reduced to 7.25 mills to generate $389,000 annually after the district learned it would be receiving more state funding and having fewer expenses than originally anticipated.


1redeye1(5662 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

If they seem to be doing alright now without the extra employees. Why vote to bring them back? Just asking!

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2tjohns(4 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

How about bringing back art class for the elementary school. What school doesn't have art class? besides us. Also, I heard that the school is cutting a bus driver job and going to have Mineral Ridge bus OUR students to tctc??? I don't want my child being bused by another school and having to ride with Ridge kids. We passed all those levies and should be able to have our students bused by OUR buses, NOT by Ridge. 3 levies passed and cutting another job??? My vote is NO!

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3fran(14 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

“We want to be excellent in academics, the arts and athletics, in that order,” Halbert said.
So why isn't this statement kept?
Athletics is more important to McDonald people than anything else. That & putting more money into the school, & putting their residents in the poor house. I don't understand why they need the renewal. They are getting the money from the 2011 levy & haven't used it the right way. I don't think that the residents in that village know how their money is being spent. Do they really care?

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4tjohns(4 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Sparky.....thanks for agreeing with me. Heaven knows our taxes went up for the last 3 levies and my child, along with all the other tctc students, should be bused by us, not ridge or any other school. With all the money from our taxes, you mean to tell me we can't afford to bus our own students? That's b.s. We here in McDonald don't need help from Ridge. We can take care of our own. With as much as our taxes have gone up, we damn sure deserve our kids ride our own buses and NOT one that says Weathersfield on the side of it!

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5tjohns(4 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Sparky, you are missing my point. It doesn't matter if it was Ridge kids, Niles kids or any other school. My point is that we are paying all these taxes for the school, so we should be able to bus our own kids and not have another school district do it for us. I'm sure you would feel the same if it was the other way around. Nothing against the kids from other schools. Would you like having a McDonald bus picking up your kids from Ridge to take them to school? I know you wouldn't.

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6papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

why doesn't McDonald have girls volleyball? it's very popular in the valley and would provide something for girls to do who don't play basketball or baseball? i'm sure they would love to have it.

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7NilesOhio(996 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

@tjohns - I understand your point. What you may not consider is that a school bus gets 4mpg, and that's a 20 mile one-way trip from the high school to TCTC. That bus would need to make that 20 mile trip 4 times a day. 80 miles / 4mpg = 20 gallons of gas. At today's cost of $3.85/gallon, that's $77 every school day in gasoline alone, so driver wages, maintenance and other extra costs drive that probably closer to $150/day.

Personally, I think McDonald is doing the prudent thing. They're effectively carpooling nearby kids to the same location in an effort to save taxpayers money. Assuming proper supervision on the bus, I don't see what the problem is.

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8tjohns(4 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Nilesohio, assuming your figures are correct, that comes to $27,000 for a WHOLE school year. You mean to tell me that the school can't pay a meager $27,000 to bus our own students for the whole school year? Especially after we approved 3 levies??? That's pathetic. Do your Niles tctc students ride with another school to tctc? I highly doubt it.

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9Roland_Martin(24 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

@ tjohns...

You used the word meager? To describe $27,000? There is nothing wrong with sharing a service with Mineral Ridge to bus kids to TCTC if it is a COMMON SENSE COST SAVER and the kids get to TCTC either way.

We approved levies, but again they reduced the 10.75 mill levy and likely will for the following years. McDonald is too small to be paying for one whole bus and driver in the morning to ship such a small number of kids off.

As for why the district needs the renewal when they passed the 10.75, again the district has been reducing the amount that they collect on it every year to keep the promise to the district that they would keep things status quo.

I do believe it is Academics, Arts and Athletics in that order, because if it wasn't you would see a brand new stadium right now instead of plans to expand the academics at the schools.

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10NilesOhio(996 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

@tjohns - We're talking a community of one square mile. $27k is a lot of money.

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