The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Swimming pool levy up next for School Board


July 11, 2018

JENNY DANIELS, left, is sworn to serve on the School Board in by outgoing Board Chairman Mike Reynolds, right, as Jason Redick observes.

The Sweet Home School District will host a public meeting later this month to prepare a recommendation to the board about whether to seek a renewal of the swimming pool operating levy.

With the levy expiring on June 30, 2019, the district can request a renewal from voters in November or May.

District voters approved the first local option levy to pay for swimming pool operations in 2012, said Business Manager Kevin Strong during the board's regular meeting Monday evening. District voters approved a five-year levy in 2014 at a rate of 32 cents per $1,000 of valuation.

The district reduced the levy to 30 cents this year because that rate would sufficiently cover the costs of operating the swimming pool.

The levy is raising about $200,000 per year right now, Strong told the board.

He asked the board whether it would like to renew the levy and what the rate ought to be. He also asked whether the board would prefer to seek the renewal in November or May and whether it would like to convene an aquatics committee to consider the questions and make a recommendation.

"I think it would be great to have some public input," said Chairman Jason Redick, but he thought the district should seek the renewal in November allowing a second chance at passing a levy in may should voters turn down the tax.

Board member Carol Babcock asked what would happen if the levy request failed.

If the levy is rejected, Strong said it would create a hole in the district's General Fund.

By consensus, the board agreed to seek a recommendation from an aquatics committee.

Strong told The New Era the committee would likely consider the same questions it did last time it met in 2013, operating with a local option levy, operating without a local option levy, asking the city to fund it or forming an aquatics district.

The committee shied away from trying to form a district then because property tax limitations would have compressed police and library property tax revenue.

Strong said the meeting will be open to the public, and the committee will essentially consist of those who choose to attend.

The board will meet next on Aug. 13 and would have to decide then whether to move forward with a request to renew the levy, Strong said. The ballot question must be filed by Aug. 17 for the November election.

The district will announce the meeting time and place on its Facebook page and at the swimming pool. It also will provide notice to The New Era.

Present at the meeting were Jenny Daniels, Chanz Keeney, Redick, Mike Reynolds, Angela Clegg and Babcock. Absent were Jim Gourley, Jason Van Eck and Debra Brown.

In other business, the board:

- Elected Redick as chairman, Reynolds as vice chairman and Clegg as secretary. Reynolds was the chairman. Redick has previously served as chairman.

- Announced nine vacancies on the district's Budget Committee. For information or to apply for a position, call the superintendent's office at (541) 367-7126.

- Approved the hiring of Susan Johnson, temporary special life skills teacher at Sweet Home High School; Joel Applebaum, special education and basic life skills at Sweet Home Junior High; Hailey Hummer, third grade, Foster; and Christopher Hartman, advanced math, SHHS.

- Accepted the resignation of Sara Doherty, third and fourth grade, Foster.


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