The Riverside Local School District Board of Education moved forward with its plan to place a 2-mill, five-year renewal permanent improvement levy on the November 3 ballot at its regular meeting on July 28.
The 2-mill levy has been in place for 30 years and generates approximately $81,000 per year for the district. Passage of the measure would maintain a tax liability of about 20 cents ($0.20) per $100,000 of assessment.
Treasurer Jennifer Blackford said that traditionally monies generated by the PI levy has been used to update transportation, and has also been used for the purchase of new textbooks.
“Funding from the state (for transportation) has been significantly reduced over the past five to ten years,” Blackford said. “The levy is a huge thing for the district.”
Blackford cited the fact that in the past year the district bought two new buses, one of them specifically equipped for handicapped passengers, using the monies generated from the levy, but the BOE still had to dip into the general fund to make the purchases. She said that the district generally tries to buy at least one new bus every other year to replace the older models and these funds generated from the 2-mill levy are instrumental in achieving that goal.
The levy has been in place for the past 30 years, with the voters first passing the measure in 1986.
Riverside will also reintroduce art classes for K-6 students after an absence of such instruction for the past five years. Abby Steinke was extended a one-year contract as the elementary art teacher, effective Aug. 17. Tiffany Bodenmiller was hired to teach fifth-grade math, also starting this school year.
Superintendent Scott Mann reported the district’s negotiations with the Council on Rural Services has led to the decision that the Head Start preschool program will move onto the Riverside campus for the 2015-16 school year. All costs for the operation and staffing will be assumed by the Council, Mann said. The Head Start will set up in a modular on the campus, and Mann expects about 20 children to attend.
Mann also announced that for the third year Riverside has been awarded a 21st Century Grant which pays for the Pirate Academy, field trips, and similar activities. Mann went on to say the district also has been awarded the Martha Holden Jennings Grant of $14,250, which will help foot the bill for administrative and ongoing training costs for the staff.
The Pirate Pride Picnic and open house for which traditionally kicks off the school year at Riverside will be conducted August 17. The picnic starts at 4:30 p.m. on the south lawn, with the open house for the school scheduled for 6-7 p.m.
The next regular meeting of the Riverside BOE is scheduled for August 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the school library.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.