By Jim Painter
For the Troy Daily News
PLEASANT HILL – Beginning early next year, real estate taxes paid by owners of property in the Newton Local Schools district will see a drop on their tax bill following action by the board of education Wednesday night.
During their regular meeting, three members of the board agreed to refinance $5.2 million in construction bond debt. The move is expected to save the district $566,000 in interest payments over the remaining term of the bonds, according to Treasurer Nick Hamilton.
With Nate Oburn, Dave Welbaum and Lane Robbins attending, a quorum and unanimous vote was reached. Board members Lisa Hildebrand and Tonia Schauer were not present at the meeting.
Through the Ohio School Facility Commission, the board originally agreed to pursue an $18 million new building construction and improvement project. Of that, the district would be responsible to pay 37 percent of the cost.
In November 2007, district voters approved a 9.46-mill bond levy to pay their portion for new facilities. The debt totaled nearly $7.4 million.
On Wednesday, Superintendent Pat McBride said $5,585,000 of that original debt remains with an effective rate of approximately 7.2 mills, based on increased property values. He said the move would be “a direct savings to the taxpayers” in the near future.
Hamilton said exact figures were still being determined by the county auditor’s office. He also noted the next payment on the bonds was due July 15.
The length of the debt will not change, he noted. The current bonds will be on the books until January 2036.
The board also approved a district wide pay increase of 2 percent for all certified and classified staff. The total increase in budgeted wages, including all employees for the 2016-17 school year, is approximately $60,000, according to Hamilton.
McBride asked the board to approve a new step increase in pay for certified staff members who have reached 27 years of service. He explained the move enhances the retirement plan for staff members. The new step reportedly better aligns the district in comparison to schools of similar size in regards to employment offerings.
He explained that state requirements for full retirement benefits is that a certified member be at least 60 years of ages and have a minimum of 35 years experience. The board passed the measure by a 3-0 vote.
In other business passed by a 3-0 vote, the board:
• Approved 15 days for Steve Fisher for his work with the guidance department. McBride said the move reinstates a cutback made two years ago. The work involves monitoring college prep credit courses for students.
• Renewed an annual agreement to pay K-12 Principal Danielle Davis a supplemental wage of $4,000 for completing and monitoring federal grants throughout the year.
• OK’d a plan to add 30 minutes per day for bus drivers to fully compensate their work day.
• Approved supplemental contracts to Greg Ballard, assistant girls varsity soccer coach; Catherine Geiger, student athlete aide for cross country runner; and Heather Peters and Amanda Morgan as junior high cheerleading coaches.
• Granted supplemental band instructor positions to Anthony Pickens, Jarrod Meddock, Kayla Vorhees, Erica Kodramaz, Abrey Davis, Matthew Urbanek, Heather Francis, Jackie Tribehorn and Justice McClinton.