McDonald schools ask voters to renew levy

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.

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