BOE in favor of renewing operating levy

By Belinda M. Paschal -

PIQUA – During their meeting on Tuesday, the Piqua City Schools Board of Education approved a resolution to renew a five-year operating levy to generate funds for such operating expenses as classrooms, staffing, transportation, building and grounds maintenance, and other needs. With the passage of this resolution, the process of getting the levy on the November ballot can now begin.

BOE President Frank Patrizio emphasized that this is not a new or additional tax, but a renewal. District Superintendent Dwayne Thompson noted that the levy has been in place since 2003, and that “it has passed every five years successfully.”

“It does bring $2 million into our budget; it goes all to our operations and stays here in the local community,” Thompson added.

Anticipating concern from the public, board member Bob Luby suggested that it be explicit in any promotional materials that the levy is a renewal.

“We need to really underline that – ‘no new money’ – because as soon as people see the words ‘operating levy,’ they immediately feel that we’re asking for money,” Luby said.

“When we start a campaign and promote this, ‘no new money’ in italics or boldface, whatever term we want to use, I think it’s critical.”

Thompson said that with the approval of the measure, the board will begin its campaign, form a committee and eventually, offer a Frequently Asked Questions website. “(We will) provide information on how we’ve saved money over the years and what we’ve done so we do not have to go back and ask for additional funds,” he said.

In other business, the BOE approved the agreement with the city of Piqua for franchising fees in the wake of the dissolution of the Western Ohio TV Consortium (WOTVC). Piqua City Schools, specifically the high school, will take over operations and productions of the station, and will have programming in place at the beginning of next year, according to Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Jeremie Hittle.

The board also green-lighted a request by Curriculum Director Scott Bloom to purchase several books for the high school’s English Language Arts department.

Two of the books, geared toward seniors, address human trafficking, and will be used in conjunction with curriculum from the University of Dayton. A third book, “Where am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories and People That Make Our Clothes,” also will be used for senior ELA. The book was written by Darke County native and New York Times best-selling author Kelsey Timmerman, who spoke in March at Edison Community State College.

Bloom’s fourth and final request was a mythology book for freshmen that explores the Roman and Greek gods, and contains lessons he said will help students with coursework in the higher grades.

Later in the meeting, Patrizio named Luby as the Piqua BOE’s nominee for the 2017 All-Ohio School Board, the highest honor given by the Ohio School Board Association to recognize board members who have served “in an extraordinary capacity,” Patrizio said.

Tuesday’s BOE meeting, as well as past meetings, can be viewed online at The next board meeting will be at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 27, at the BOE offices, located at 719 E. Ash St., Piqua.

By Belinda M. Paschal

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3351

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3351