December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria school board moves to place renewal on ballot

ELYRIA — Voters will likely see a 4.95-mill renewal levy on the November ballot as Elyria Schools seeks to continue its operating revenue.

The first step toward getting the issue on the ballot was taken Wednesday night by a pared-down board of three members — Mike Gebhardt, Don Boddy and Kathryn Karpus.

Members Ginny Hawes and Evelyn France were absent from the meeting, but both have long said they support the renewal because it will result in no new money for taxpayers.

“This has always been a part of our financial picture and something we have talked about a lot with the community,” Boddy said. “We have three renewals we need to pass in the next year, and this is the first.”

This renewal will continue to bring in about $4.3 million a year to the district.

District Treasurer Fred Stephens included passage of it as well as two other renewals voters will likely see in May 2014 when he presented the district’s five-year forecast in May. At that time, he said the district would be OK until 2017 with the cuts that have already been made, if all of the renewals pass and if the state doesn’t make more cuts to funding.

In other news:

  • McKinley Elementary School Principal Lonnie “Chip” Hall is retiring and a veteran educator from Clearview has been hired as the new principal. School board members voted to hire Virginia Fitch as the new principal. She will have a starting salary of $87,500. Fitch comes from Clearview’s Vincent Elementary, which was ranked as being excellent with distinction when the state last ranked schools. “Her reputation more than preceded her,” Superintendent Paul Rigda said. “When she got to me for an interview, I knew she would be a great addition to the district.” Fitch said she was ready to lead McKinley. “I promise you … I will work my tail off for Elyria Schools,” she said. Rigda said Fitch was humble in her work, which makes her the kind of person who would fit perfectly in Elyria’s team-first approach. “We’re not looking for egos and when we talked to her, she boasted about her staff and the hard work they were doing in the district.” Hall was an administrator for many years, several of them at McKinley, which is consistently ranked as one of the highest-achieving elementary schools in the district.
  • Lunch prices in the districts will go up at the beginning of the school year. A 5 percent increase was approved by school board members to cover meals, a la carte items and catered items. The increase is because of increases in food, fuel and other related costs. The increase will also align food costs with the average difference between the free-meal reimbursement and the paid-meal reimbursement.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.