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School BD Discusses Safety-Security Levy

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    Posted: Jun 27 2018 at 10:22am

Metal Detectors are being considered for Monroe Schools

Safety and Security Levy: Dr. Phil Cagwin said that security and safety remain in the minds of school personnel
throughout our country. He reported the following: I want to stress that Chief Buchanan and our SRO have 
helped us evaluate our facility plans for safety. He said we have also been working with the County. Mr.
Catanzaro, Mr. Ward, Mr. Moon and other administrators have attended meetings with the County. We have
talked about shatterproof windows, metal detectors, door barricades and all of that. We talked about risk
assessment teams who come into your building and point out ways to make it more secure. We talked about
counselors, mental health personnel, psychologists and others to address behavior problems. We have
involved administrators, teachers, parents and guardians. Obviously, any additional surface will incur more
expenditures. On March 21, the Governor signed into law an emergency law SB 227 authorizing a county wide
educational service center to place a county wide levy on the ballot for safety and security.
Dr. Cagwin said then on May 9, members of our Board and administration attended a county wide Board
meeting with other School Boards, to place a safety and security property tax levy on the ballot in November.
Fairfield, Miami, and Middletown said they would like to be included. The ESC has asked all schools to
determine if they want to be a part of this county wide endeavor.

Mrs. Cahall shared that the levy would go into effect for all Districts that chose to be a part of the County
School Financing District. It would not be a Monroe tax or a Middletown tax, but a tax by the CSFD which is a
separate legal entity. She said some of the positives are that it would not affect the 20 mill floor which meant
that the millage would stay the same throughout the term of the levy. It would not be counted as part of our
millage. It would be separate from our operating budget and only used for security. Once capital items have
been purchased, that would not be an ongoing expense so some of the funds could be used for what we pay
for now such as counselors and psychologists.

The negatives are that the majority rules so if the majority of voters agreed to the tax, and Monroe voters did
not agree, they would be taxed anyway. Also, the way funds are allocated has not been determined. It would
be fair and equitable if it was based on property values, but this has not been decided.
Mr. Leeds said he is concerned that the amount of money is not guaranteed since the sharing arrangement has
not been finalized. He was also concerned that we would be required to spend the funds the same as another
school. Mr. Guido said it is his understanding that it will be up to each District how they can spend the funds.
Mr. Guido said as a local school district we are automatically in the CSFD, and if we do not want to participate,
we have to pass a resolution to withdraw. He said his biggest concern is we received an email that says we
need to make a decision right away and there is much we don’t know such as how it will be allocated. There
was discussion about allocating it based on the number of buildings you have. He said it could be argued that
our main campus is three schools. He supports any ability we have to improve the safety and security of our
school. But we don’t know the specifics. Some schools have many campuses. To me, there are a lot of logistics
that need to be worked out.

Mr. Carpenter said Districts with low property values have a lot to gain and less to lose, and there is the
potential that they will be served by our tax money. If we opted in and then disliked the rules, how easy is it to
opt out? Mr. Guido said you are locked in to the full term of the levy. Mr. Leeds said school safety would be
nightmare if we have metal detectors. What is the State and Federal legislators going to demand on the
schools? You could have a tax and then the State demand you spend it for certain things.
Mrs. Stone questioned was it true that if a community did not pass it, but the majority did, would those who
disagree still have to pay the tax? Mr. Guido said that yes, it would work that way. Mrs. Stone said our local 
teachers know the students well, and our community members know the school, and that very few things have
gone well when we have collaborated with other Districts. She said it makes her nervous when it’s majority
rules and the majority is not the Monroe community. Mr. Carpenter said there is a lot of data about it that is
missing. He agreed with the idea, but is concerned about execution.

Dr. Cagwin then asked if the Board would feel more comfortable if we could find out the millage, specifically
how it is going to be allocated, and the length of the levy. Mr. Guido said he understood that they would be
getting Board members, Superintendents, and Treasurer’s together to iron out the specifics of this levy. Mr.
Guido said he appreciated how the ESC has stepped up to organize this and he thinks it could be a way to
garner much needed funds to step up the safety and security for our schools.

Dr. Cagwin said all the schools are having these discussions and have not decided. Talawanda has decided to
use their own funds to put an SRO in all of their six schools as well as a social worker. They have enough money
in their general fund. Mrs. Stone asked if it would be more cost effective to cover that ourselves. Dr. Cagwin
said a school district could do this on their own. This allows ESCs to get the whole county involved. Some
Districts would have difficulty passing something like this.

Mr. Guido said it is the ESC’s levy and doesn’t count against us on the 20 mill floor. Mr. Grant said he
understands the fear of Monroe taxpayers funding services in other schools. Dr. Cagwin said he thinks it is a
deal breaker that the money should be allocated based on property values. Mr. Guido said we could consider
a 1 mill levy on our own. Mr. Carpenter was concerned about putting a levy on the ballot now with the potential
for a Bond levy to follow shortly after. He said taxes are going up anyway because property values are going

Mr. Guido said we could use more social workers and mental health personnel so that would be a benefit. Mr.
Carpenter asked where we would put more social workers in this building. He said he loved the idea, but
logistics are difficult. Mr. Guido said this is an important topic so if we need a special meeting, we can do that.

MAY 21, 2018

Monroe, Ohio Breaking News
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