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Liberty schools place renewal levy on ballot

LIBERTY — The board of education on Monday gave final approval for placing renewal of a 3.25-mill emergency operating levy on the ballot.

The board last week placed a new 2.5-mill additional levy for permanent improvements on the Nov. 3 ballot.

School district officials said the five-year renewal levy will generate $740,680 annually for emergency needs of the district. This levy was last approved by the voters in March 2016.

The 2.5-mill, five-year levy, meanwhile, will raise $564,018 annually for permanent improvements.

Treasurer Maureen Lloyd said the 2.5-mill levy is the same levy defeated by voters in the April primary election.

She said the additional levy would be only for permanent improvements to roofs, parking lots, buses, buildings and grounds. Lloyd said none of the money will be used for operations, such as salaries.

She said the district does not have sufficient funds for necessary permanent improvements.

Voters in the Liberty district voted down the 2.5-mill levy 53 percent to 47 percent in April, according to results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

In other business, the board and district administrators discussed finalizing the 2020-21 reopening plan.

Debra Mettee, director of human resources / administrative professional development, said officials are discussing changing the start of school to Sept. 8 after Labor Day to allow for additional training and staff development the week before.

She said it is important to get additional training for staff for what will take place with in-person and online learning.

Andrew Scarmack, principal and special education director, said while return-to-school plans are preliminary there will be desk shields in place in classrooms and sanitizing equipment in all rooms.

Mettee asked the board to review a policy on facility use of school buildings by outside groups since extensive cleaning would need to take place if a group meets in the cafeteria or other rooms.

“These are difficult and challenging times. We are stretching our custodial staff with a lot of cleaning,” Mettee said.

She said while some school districts have released plans, Liberty is waiting since there are constant changes from the state.

Mettee said special education students will likely meet in person four or five days per week and preschool units in the district will have one teacher for every nine students.

She said $78,000 in CARES Act relief funds will help cover costs for hand sanitizers and other coronavirus-related expenses.

Mettee said there likely will be no field trips in the fall due to busing issues.

In other business, the board:

● Approved an agreement with RYFP Education Consulting to provide online Leopard Cyber Academy for 10 months starting in September with a minimum of 10 students needed. Total cost is $2,500 per month or $25,000 per the school year;

● Approved an agreement with Students Motivated by the Arts (SMARTS) to provide teachers in visual arts, music, drama, theater and creative writing with such services as after-school activities, family nights and celebration events. Programs can be provided in-person or online or combination of both. The cost for the services is $75,000 provided by a donation to SMARTS;

● Approved Patricia Copenhaver as food service coordinator at $10,000 and Beth Russell as food service director at $5,000.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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