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Arthur Board of Education Approves Tax Levy

School district looking to save $22,000 in electricity by brokering with Twin City Energy/Homefield Energy

By ARIANA R. CHERRY
Staff Writer
A public hearing concerning the Tax Levy was held during the meeting of the Arthur Board of Education on Wednesday, December 21, 2022. In November, a tentative Tax Levy was approved with an estimated 6% EAV. Superintendent, Shannon Cheek proposed a Balloon Levy with a 9.43% Aggregate Levy which ended up requiring a truth and taxation hearing. With no additional comments or oppositions, the Tax Levy was approved.

The high school cafeteria was quite full of elementary and junior high students who were excited with anticipation to show off some of their recent projects. First up was a group of fourth grade students who presented their projects from their annual market day. A number of handmade items were shown that included sport bags made from sports balls, sport necklaces created from washers, wooden animal puzzles, keychains and treasurer chests.

Teacher Melissa Hopkins brought some of her students from her Junior High Stem class to present projects that were created from Lego robotic kits. Each kit came with about 500 different pieces and large USB hub, battery, sensors and an online program with tasks they had to accomplish using the robots. Each kit costs around $500. The students performed a few demonstrations that they had programmed into the robots which enabled them to perform tasks by pushing different buttons.

Hopkins stated that the robotic kits did not come with any manuals and the students had to learn by using trial and error.

Arthur resident Jeremy Hale spoke during public comment to approach the board once again about the possibility of live-streaming the school board meetings. Hale informed the board that he had reached out to Doug Davis who does the Round Table.

He said that all the schools in the district should be fully capable of live streaming and that all the equipment is available for the technology. Hale also commented that he spoke with Stephanie Wierman from the Arthur Graphic, telling her he didn’t have any plans to step on the newspaper’s toes. “I would like the board to consider live streaming the meetings. There are a lot of people in the communities that might be interested in hearing the information and it would help in getting it out there more as well,” Hale said. He also told the board that live streaming would be helpful in accomplishing its goals.

The board approved $500 in donations. One donation came from Tasha Donalds for the use of LGS for the book fair. She donated $400. A second donation in the amount of $100 was from Donna Cook that was given to LGS Special Ed. “I am very happy with the support of our communities. They are all very supportive,” commented Cheek.

Atwood-Hammond Grade School Principal, Chris Foreman, spoke about “Chippy the Elf,” who visited the school during this holiday season. “Chippy” brings in all kinds of different gift items that are only $2.00 – no matter what they are. Students can then come shop for a gift for their parents – even if they don’t have the money to purchase them. Foreman was grateful about the kindness that allowed students to do this in his school.

ALAH High School Principal, Steffanie Seegmiller reported that 35 students attended “Haircuts for the Holidays.” Ten of those 35 students were from the high school. Seven hair stylists had committed their time and four of them were able to be present during the event. “The stylists were great sports – as most of them did about seven haircuts each,” said Seegmiller. A line had formed at 6:30 pm with some coming in as early as 6:15 pm. Members of the National Honor Society helped to clean up after all of the haircuts and volunteers helped make several cookies. Seegmiller also informed board members that there were 13 early graduates. “One or two are headed into the military and many of them are going into the work-force,” she stated. With Sports

Director Nathan Seal being busy in the gym with practices, Seegmiller passed the message onto the board that the new scoreboards will be getting installed on Tuesday.

The lowest bid from American Asbestos Abatement was approved to remove asbestos from both LGS and AGS. The district had received bids from three different companies. The bids were very competitive in regards to the low bid. The total cost to do the project is $63,674.

A six year lease was approved for the use of “Turf Tank.” It is a robot that is used to line the football field. Cheek informed the board that the district has the ability to give the robot back or change packages if they decide not to use it – they are not “locked” into the plan should they change their mind. It was recommended that the board consider the package for $10,000 instead of other packages since there were still some unknowns. Most of the packages were similar except that other more expensive ones came with extra pumps, nozzles, etc. “When you compare what the school pays for labor and paint costs, you are looking at $13-$14,000 per year. There won’t be two men lining the fields anymore. They will be available to do other work. We will be saving on material costs,” said Cheek.

An electric contract with Twin City Energy/Homefield Energy was approved. The district is looking to save $22,000 by brokering with them. Cheek recommended signing a one year contract and then evaluating where the district will be after the term is over.

Cheek notified the board that the survey mailer is complete and ready to be mailed. The mailer will drop on January 3. It will also be posted on all of the school district’s social media sites after he returns from Christmas break. The survey will also be available by pencil and paper at the schools as well. “My hope is that I get some feedback from the community about what they really want and that is the key,” he said. “I want to know what our community’s vision is for us,” Cheek continued. “I also don’t see the village organizations as separate from us. I see us all working together,” he concluded.

Cheek wrapped up the public portion of the board meeting by giving thanks to several people who have been a great help to the schools as of late. “I would like to thank our Janitorial Staff. They’ve been helping each other out at other buildings as some of them have been out sick at the other schools.” He then went on to compliment the holiday concerts. “The band and chorus concerts were phenomenal,” Cheek said. Last of all, he also gave his appreciation to the administrative staff. “It is nice to have a group to collaborate with and a group that is willing to try to improve things. They are always willing to try out new things,” he commented. Cheek went on to tell the board how Nathan Seal does a lot of different things to enhance the atmosphere in all of the district’s curriculars. “He tries to make it fun and get attendance up. Mr. Seal also tries to make it an experience that our kids will remember and be a part of-especially the new starting lineup at the games, and the vinyl machine that he bought so that the school will have the ability to print their own banners. He puts in a lot of time and effort, and he should be recognized for that,” Cheek quoted. Cheek finished by saying, “It’s a great district- the staff, students and community members.”

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