The Oregon school board on Tuesday agreed to reschedule a vote on whether voters will have the opportunity to renew the district’s permanent improvement levy on the May 7 ballot and called for a special meeting on Feb. 5 to decide the issue.
The levy was an item on the board’s Jan. 22 meeting agenda, but Council President P.J. Kapfhammer said the board was not yet prepared to place it on the ballot.
“I am caught in a pickle here,” Kapfhammer said to the board. “We don’t really have all the information to go forward with this, but it was already in the newspaper that we were going with it. So rather than pull it from the agenda and making it look like we weren’t dealing with it, I am asking for support from the board members to postpone this motion until the next meeting so we can further get the costs of putting this election on. We don’t know what it’s going to cost us in the community to do this. So rather than pull it and act like it didn’t happen, we need to protect the community and make sure we’re doing this for the right reasons and it’s not excessive.”
The board agreed to reschedule the vote, but not for the next regularly scheduled meeting, held the third Tuesday of the month, since it would be past the board of election’s Feb. 6 deadline to place the levy on the ballot. So the board agreed to call a special meeting on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Clay High School media center to discuss the matter further.
The board took the first step toward placing the levy on the ballot at a meeting on Jan. 10 by requesting that the Lucas County Auditor determine the final millage amount needed for its renewal.
Voters originally passed the 2-mill permanent improvement levy on Nov. 4, 2008, and generated over $1.2 million annually for five years.
The public is not expected to pay more than what they are currently paying for the levy. It could cost them less as a result of a drop in property valuations, which the auditor will determine.
Revenue from the levy can only be used for specific purposes, such as for building operations and repairs, equipping and furnishing schools, maintaining and purchasing buses, and computers. It is not for operating costs such as salaries.
Also at the meeting, the board agreed to an administrative title change for Hal Gregory, from director of education services to assistant superintendent.
“This is just a title change in name only,” said Kapfhammer. “Job duties and compensation will remain the same.”
Superintendent Dr. Mike Zalar said the recommendation reflects the duties of Gregory.
“We feel the assistant superintendent title is more reflective of his actual duties that he’s currently conducting and as we get into a lot of teachers assignments and other issues related to the reconfiguration, it’s just better to have a clearer delineation of what his actual role and responsibilities are. That’s why we’re recommending the change. It’s not a monetary thing. His salary will remain the same,” said Zalar.
He anticipates revisiting the entire central office administrator structure later this spring, Zalar added.
“We will be looking for ways to improve, streamline, be more cost effective, and more efficient with the way we can conduct our business,” said Zalar. “I do anticipate some other changes later this spring, as I mentioned previously, with job descriptions. Some of the administrator positions will be changed as well. So we look to probably overhaul the entire organizational chart to some extent and we’ll be able to present the board with a draft of that hopefully in the February or March board meeting.”
Kapfhammer praised Gregory for the work he does in the district.
“I think everyone here realizes that Hal Gregory has been our assistant superintendent. He’s essential to our day to day business. I call him assistant superintendent, and everybody up here does. He’s earned the right to have that title. Without him coming to work every day, we’d be missing a lot,” said Kapfhammer.