By Shari Harris, Publisher
Licking R-VIII School District held a Community Advisory Meeting in the Elementary Cafeteria Tuesday evening, January 30. The purpose of the meeting was to seek input from the community on how to continue to provide competitive salaries and wages for the district’s valuable, hard-working teachers and staff.
Superintendent Telena Haneline and Board President Rawly Gorman both shared information with those present about the current state of finances and the anticipated changes in the future. Other board members also spoke to help clarify issues.
Seventy-six percent of the current operating budget is used for salaries. If increased salaries are proposed to stop the flow of quality teachers to higher paying school districts, there must be a source of additional funding.
The school board asked those attending the meeting for their feelings on asking for an increase in the tax levy to allow for higher pay for teachers. The district currently has the lowest tax levy allowed by the state, at 2.75. This is the same rate as Green Forest, Dent-Phelps and Success, all PreK-8 schools and all much smaller. All other area schools have higher tax levies, ranging from Newburg at 3.71 to Plato at 2.8832.
While most at the meeting were supportive of the idea, the amount of the increase was a point of debate. The concern expressed by some attending the meeting was that a small increase might not be enough to keep up with the need. Board members stated that they also didn’t want to ask for more than what was needed.
The Board and administration continue to study the issue and request input from the community.
Jeanette Butherus made a meal for those attending, including delicious BBQ pork on bun sandwiches, served with cheesy potato casserole, baked beans and sugar cookies.