PIQUA – At their first meeting of the new school year on Thursday, the Piqua City Schools Board of Education had a relatively short agenda with several routine matters of business and a couple of items that warranted more thorough discussion.
The main topic of discussion was the five-year operating levy that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot. Superintendent Dwayne Thompson reiterated the board’s campaign slogan – “No new taxes,” as this is a renewal of a levy that has been in place since 2003. It was renewed in 2008 and 2013 with zero percent tax increases, Thompson noted.
Board Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Jeremie Hittle added that the renewal is not about increasing taxes, but rather “maintaining strong and conservative finances, as well as continuing to provide our students with the services they need for their success.”
If passed, the levy would constitute 6 percent of the district’s operating budget, as it would generate $2.1 million for expenses including classrooms, staffing, transportation, building and grounds maintenance, technology, utilities, and student programs.
“These funds are crucial to maintain the stability that we have,” Thompson said, adding that, “Not one dollar goes to Columbus or Washington – it’s important that we point that out.”
Several examples were given as proof that the district has been good stewards of residents’ tax dollars, including:
Refinancing a Piqua Junior High School loan that saved 1 million of taxpayers’ dollars. “We will pay off this bond a year early in 2019,” Thompson pointed out.
Replacing the 30-year-old track at Piqua High School’s Alexander Stadium, with Premier Health partnership funds. This project saved taxpayers more than $600,000, according to the board.
Later in the meeting, Board President Frank Patrizio commented on the Miami County Board of Elections’ rejection of fellow Board of Education member Steve Greggerson’s petition to be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot for reelection. Greggerson’s petition was denied due to leaving the nominating and circulator statements blank.
“Mr. Greggerson being unable to run for school board is a real disservice to the community,” Patrizio lamented, adding that Piqua residents should contact state legislators to protest the current process for submitting petitions for candidacy.
“It’s hard enough to get people to run (for the Board of Education),” Patrizio said. “Something needs to be changed.”
In other business, the board approved allowing the superintendent to enter into an agreement with Edison State Community College to exchange land parcels after an official land survey is completed. Thompson explained that there is a parcel of land at the Edison site that belongs to Piqua City Schools, and vice versa.
The Board of Education’s next meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, at Washington Primary School, 800 N. Sunset Drive, Piqua.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341