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Manchester BOE approves renewal levy, school calendar

1/23/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Joyce Rainey Long

Two major items were discussed at a special meeting of the Manchester Local Schools Board of Education (BOE) Jan. 21.

The board approved the renewal of a five- year, 6.9-mill operating levy that will be on the May 6 Primary Election ballot and approved the school calendars for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

The levy was first approved in 1989 and has been approved every five years, said Superintendent Sam Reynolds. The levy generates $682,250 a year and is approximately 5.26 percent of the General Fund.

The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $103 per year, Reynolds said.

The levy funds general operations of the district, including purchased services, textbooks, transportation, salaries, supplies and extracurricular activities, said Reynolds.

“This is critical to our operation, and the community understands this is not a tax increase,” said Reynolds.

In another matter, the board approved calendars for the next two school years. The calendars were voted on by the Manchester Education Association (MEA). The MEA votes on vacation days and when school should start and end, and determines professional days and conference days, said Reynolds. Administrators determine grading periods and schedule interim and final exams.

For the 2014-15 school year, the first day will be Aug. 19 and winter break will be Dec. 22 through Jan. 2. Spring break will be March 30 through April 3, and the last day of school will be May 29.

For the 2015-16 school year, the first day will be Aug. 18 and winter break will be Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. Spring break will be March 21-25, and the last day of school will be May 26.

The MEA wanted the school year to start earlier than in past years in order to give teachers more days before Ohio standardized tests are administered, said Reynolds. The Ohio Achievement Test is administered to students in third through eighth grades in the spring, and 10th-graders will take the Ohio Graduation Test in the spring, he said.

“Next year, teachers will be evaluated based on the achievement of students, and they are concerned about having enough time to prepare their students for testing,” Reynolds said.

Another change schools will face next school year is the elimination of calamity days, said Reynolds, and Manchester has potential calamity makeup days scheduled for Saturdays, if needed.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the school year will be measured in hours, not days. Students in first through eighth grades must have 910 hours and students in ninth through 12th grades must have 1,002 hours, excluding lunch.

“The district is analyzing the new law and will determine how makeup days will occur. We will decide between various options,” said Reynolds.

In other business, the board approved Charlotte Bunner as a regular cafeteria employee and Evelyn Duve as a substitute aide.

Reynolds extended congratulations and thanks to board members who were elected this past November: Richard Sponseller (board president), Kelly Dolan and Randy Hoppe.

“You are making the choice to step forward for children,” said Reynolds to the board members. “You are making very important decisions for Manchester’s children and are putting your hearts out and taking responsibility.”

The next meeting will take place Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, located at 6075 Manchester Road.

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