Northridge voters will see a 3.5-mill emergency operating levy on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Northridge voters will see a 3.5-mill emergency operating levy on the Nov. 4 ballot.

School board members voted unanimously Aug. 18 to proceed with the issue, which would bring in an additional $750,000 annually to Northridge schools.

"This is the bare minimum," said Larry Porter, board president, before the vote was cast. "This is no wiggle room."

Treasurer Felicia Drummey agreed the amount requested will not allow the district to add to its programs in any way, but "will allow us to meet goals we have to meet in the next five years."

Some of those goals are unfunded state mandates, like bringing in additional teachers at the high school level. Also, the district has been advised by the Ohio Department of Education to establish a budget reserve of 30 days' working capital, something Drummey said would be possible by the end of the five-year levy.

The district also needs to refresh curriculum. Superintendent John Shepard said there has been no major curriculum/textbook purchase in the past four years at Northridge.

Board member Troy Willeke pointed out that, if the issue passed in November, Northridge would still only collect about half of the levy amount in 2009.

In other business, the board and administration expressed thanks to area businesses like Baker's Acres, McCullough's Gardens, Hope Timber, Stygler Brothers and Fackler's for donations made toward landscaping the new modular intermediate building.

Intermediate Principal Robin Elliott, who was officially hired by the board Monday night, said the building received more than $1,000 in donations toward "curb appeal" from those garden centers to landscape the new building.

"Teachers brought flowers in, too," she noted, and spruced the place up at an Aug. 17 landscaping party.

An open house will be held Sept. 10 for the entire community to take a look inside that intermediate building. The open house goes from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Another staff member, Julie Liggett from the middle school, worked to help secure a FEMA Public Assistance Grant for the district of $1,530. Drummey said the grant is a reimbursement for snow removal in March. The board thanked Liggett for taking the initiative on that project.

District resident Tim Phillips spoke at the meeting to express frustration about communication at Northridge, specifically between school officials and the community in regard to busing.

Phillips also asked if playground equipment would be moved to the intermediate school. Elliott said her goal is to get that done before the "weather turns nasty," through a committee of representatives from the Hartford and Homer areas.

In the meantime, she said students have access to sports fields, picnic tables and "playground kits" with activities and balls. Shepard said students expressed no interest in swing sets, but did want a jungle gym of some kind.

Another resident, Alan Mejaw, asked the board to set a precedent as it begins to think about building a centralized elementary by making that building "recyclable." Mejaw suggested any new building should essentially "pay for its own disposal when its use is finished," for the economic good of generations to come.

In other business:

Drummey said the Finance Committee will meet Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m., and the public is encouraged to hear a county-facilitated presentation about fostering understanding and dialogue about school funding in communities so "key community members can understand it without all the jargon."

The board approved the following resignations: Board member Bob Brooks (see related story); 8th grade science teacher Audrey Hager; Intervention specialist Marie Schultz; and Student attendant/aide Diane Moore. Newly hired personnel include teachers Jason Muhlenkamp, Jordan Burnworth, Christopher Patton and Daniel Melvin.

The board approved supplemental contracts for fall coaching positions.

Shepard said a Safe & Drug Free Schools grant funded the new ID badges students and parents will see on Northridge staff.

The next regular meeting of the Northridge Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, in the intermediate commons area.