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Published: Thursday, 11/3/2005

Lake board says buses will roll if levy is OK d

Members of the Lake Local Board of Education told the community at a special meeting last night what items they plan to restore if voters pass the levy on next week s ballot.

After meeting in a 30-minute, closed-door executive session, board members said their priorities are to bus all students to school beginning in January, restore at least two custodial positions, and authorize the purchase of textbooks and other educational materials if the five-year, 8.74-mill levy is approved.

We want to get the kids back on the buses, board President Margene Akenberger said. That s a priority. Let s try to get our levy passed and get Lake restored.

Board members also said other items would be determined and considered during a board workshop session, if the levy is passed.

If approved by voters, the levy would bring in $1.8 million a year for the district that school officials say is operating on a bare-bones budget. Voters have soundly rejected the district s last five funding requests, forcing district officials to make millions of dollars in cuts including four custodial positions and reduce busing to state minimums.

The board also unanimously voted to hire an interim treasurer to replace Greg Spiess, whose last day at the district is tomorrow.

The board hired John Coffman as the district s interim treasurer for two to three days a week at $50 an hour, plus expenses, beginning Monday.

Mr. Coffman recently retired from the Margaretta Local School District in Castalia, Ohio, after 28 years as the district s chief financial officer.

In other action, the board ratified a one-year contract with Local 335 of the Ohio Association of Public Service Employees retroactive to July 1.

School board member Ted Hubler said the 42 association members including bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, and secretaries will not receive a raise in the next year, and their deductibles will increase.

The contract, which was negotiated with a federal mediator and approved by the association earlier this week, expires on June 30.

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