Urbana board begins levy renewal process

Discussion continues on school officer

By Casey S. Elliott - [email protected]

The Urbana City Schools board approved the first step in putting a renewal levy on the November ballot.

The board also learned more about the possibility of bringing in a police officer for the district at its Tuesday meeting.

The board began the process of renewing its 9.75-mill levy by passing resolutions to certify it to the auditor. One resolution is for a five-year time period; the other for a “continuing” levy, for which voters would not vote again. The levy generates approximately $2.4 million annually, Treasurer Mandy Hildebrand said.

The board will need to pass one more resolution at its next meeting to place the levy on the November ballot, Hildebrand said. The board will decide at that time if it will be the five-year time limit or the continuing one.

The school board has been moving levies to continuing ones to reduce the number of times voters go to the polls. In the past few years it has made the 3.5-mill permanent improvement levy and the 14.88-mill operating levy continuous. It still has a 5.9-mill and the 9.75-mill operating levies up for renewal every five years.

School resource officer discussion continues

Superintendent Charles Thiel told the school board he continues to seek more information about having a school resource officer for the district. In preliminary discussions with city of Urbana Director of Administration Kerry Brugger and Police Chief Matt Lingrell, all had similar questions and concerns about hiring the officer, such as getting the right person for the job.

“It’s got to be a good fit,” Thiel said. “That’s a concern we all shared.”

The district had an officer around 2000 or 2003, Brugger said previously.

Thiel said the estimated cost for the salary and benefits of an officer is approximately that of a teacher – an estimated $85,000 to $95,000 annually. That cost would be split between the district and city, since the officer would split his time between the two locations throughout the year. Thiel said he would like the officer to take over some of the security duties that off-duty police are hired for at the school, such as security at football games.

“We would have an officer with a relationship with students already,” he said. “It would help make appropriate connections, and kids would make better choices, knowing who those officers are.”

Thiel said he hopes to have an officer in place for the fall, if the board approves of the arrangement.

Discussion continues on school officer

By Casey S. Elliott

[email protected]

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.