Income tax renewal discussed at Evergreen meeting

By Drew Stambaugh - [email protected]

The upcoming income tax was briefly discussed and several personnel items were approved at the Evergreen Board of Education meeting last Monday, Oct. 17.

Superintendent Eric J. Smola said he and Treasurer Brian Carroll have been holding community conversations around the district to give people a chance to ask questions about the levy and the district overall. The first two were lightly attended, he added.

The last one will be Friday at Wolf It Down BBQ in Lyons from 11 a.m. to noon.

A 0.25% income tax renewal was defeated in May by a margin of 805-719. It passed among Fulton County votes, but did not in Lucas County.

Last year, the levy was responsible for approximately $670,000 of the district’s General Fund.

“If this levy fails, the district will be forced to make budget cuts of approximately $700,000 in the areas of staff, curriculum resources, transportation, and student programs,” Smola said previously. “We need our community members to take time and vote.”

At the meeting a pair of year-end retirements were approved. Pat Adamski, high school teacher, and Chris Beck, elementary teacher will retire effective May 31, 2023.

A change in the transportation department was also approved. Carrie Brown resigned as transportation coordinator, effective Oct. 28. She will be replaced by Dawn Spradlin, who the village approved for the position, effective Oct. 31. To take the position, Spradlin will resign as bus driver and cashier.

The Board also approved supplemental contracts for Adam Glecker, wrestling, half contract; Kyle Keller, wrestling, half contract; Lorenzo Mendez, assistant wrestling volunteer; Keven Knight, assistant bowling volunteer; Skylee Raker, assistant softball volunteer; and Emma Vaculik, assistant wrestling volunteer.

A service agreement with New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden to provide educational services was approved for the school year at a cost of $15,750 per semester. The Board also approved the disposal of obsolete SmartBoards at Holy Trinity School. They were originally purchased in fiscal year 2009.

At the meeting, Beth Thomas from the Fulton County Health Department spoke about drug use prevention. She proposed that developing a comprehensive plan could not only help address substance use but look at mental health challenges as well.

She told the Board she did not believe in putting drug testing at the top of the plan because research on drug testing is inconclusive.

“There’s people that think it’s a good strategy, there’s people who think it is not a good strategy. But my experience has been perception is reality,” said Thomas. “So, what we’ve persistently heard across districts, not just from Evergreen, is that the students or parents of the community did not feel the selection was random.”

She also added that they have been told urine had been sold for the testing. Thomas said she did not know if that was true, but that was the perception.

She suggested a pyramid shaped plan starting with providing information at the top and ending with policy change at the bottom.

Board Member Nora Kiefer said she was not comfortable taking away drug testing at this time, but was in favor of adding the extra resources. “For me I’d like to add the mental health and education but keep what policies we have in place.”

Smola said at this time, they are not asking the Board to remove drug testing, but they are building a framework that may eliminate the need for it in the future.

By Drew Stambaugh

[email protected]