The Swanton Board of Education voted Wednesday to place a substitute levy on the November ballot. The levy would replace a current emergency levy and there would be no increase in taxes for current property.
That current levy raises a fixed amount of $825,000. A substitute levy does not change the amount current property owners pay, but allows the district to collect additional revenue.
“It will have some potential for teeny tiny growth for new buildings, new construction in the district,” said Treasurer Joyce Kinsman.
The new levy would be 3.4-mills. Millage for the current emergency levy is 3.73. It has decreased from the original amount of 6.96-mills due to property valuation increases in the district.
The first year of the substitute levy generates the same dollar amount as the emergency levy. Beginning the second year, the substitute levy will have incremental increases based on the new homes, new commercial buildings or additions to existing properties added to the school district.
The Board approved the measure 4-0 with David Smith absent.
Superintendent Chris Lake said information on the levy will be sent out to voters stressing that it is not a new tax.
Also at the meeting, the Board approved an increase in pay rate for substitute workers. The hourly rate for substitute custodial workers will increase from $10 to $12 and the substitute rate for bus drivers will increase from $15 to $16.50.
“Both of those rates have been the same for a very, very long time,” Lake said. “So, we just would like to up them a little bit to get a little bit more competitive. It’s very tough to get subs right now.”
Donations approved by the Board included $5,000 from North Star Bluescope Steel to Swanton Seven programming, $2,000 from AVI Foodsystems to the general fund, $1,750 from Swanton Athletic Boosters to the cheerleading team fundraising account.
Near the end of the meeting, Board member Steve Brehmer raised concerns about the condition of the solar field near the high school. It is severely overgrown with weeds and the black construction fence remains in place.
Lake said he had reached out to the company to find a solution.
It is ultimately supposed to be a butterfly garden, but the ground needs 12 months to leach out chemicals used in farming, according to Lake. “So they were going to plant green ground cover,” he said. “I don’t think that’s it. I think that’s just weeds.”
The Board approved a new administrative contract for Leigh Pancoast as middle school principal. The new five-year contract will be effective Aug. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2026.
In order to approve the new contract the Board also had to rescind a current administrative contract for Pancoast that was effective until July 2022. The moves were approved by a vote of 3-0, with Ben Remer, Pancoast’s brother, abstaining.
Also, the Board approved the resignations of Lindsay Vance, middle school English language arts teacher, and Kori Reiser, middle school counselor. To replace Vance, they approved a one-year contract with Amber Molter.
Other items approved included Keirstin Vaughn, one-year certified contract; Robbie Barrett, one-year classified contract; Miranda Baker, mentor coordinator; Renee Bardwell, full-year mentor; Vicki Young, Safety Village teacher; Aaren LaPoint, assistant baseball; Gary Langenderfer, seventh grade girls basketball; Meridian Smith, Safety Village teacher; and Joe Hensley, freshman football.
Recreation contracts approved were Bridget Foster as fall soccer director for the U4 to U14 age groups, and Blake Foster for fall soccer field maintenance.