Johnstown Independent

Johnstown-Monroe

District leaders express their gratitude for levy passage

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The controversy regarding busing wasn't enough of a distraction to keep voters from supporting their school system.

Johnstown-Monroe Local School District voters renewed the 1-percent income tax Nov. 6, with 2,515 votes in favor to 2,225 against, or 53.06 percent to 46.94 percent.

The tax collects $2.1 million per year. It first was approved in 2003, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2004, and renewed in 2007. The funds are collected and solely used as general-fund operating money.

"We are honored and grateful for the support our community has again affirmed through their vote (Nov. 6) and promise to continue working to provide a program of excellence and distinction in all ways for our students, our community and for our future," Superintendent Damien Bawn said. "It's a great time to mark, in recognition, the fantastic work our students and staff have long committed to accomplishing the mission of our schools. That work is what excites a community and brings all of us together, focusing on what truly is best for our young folks."

District resident Michael Rush, who is working closely with the district to help determine which students who attend nonpublic schools but live within Johnstown-Monroe should continue to be transported, told ThisWeek that passing the levy superseded those discussions.

"I do not believe the busing issue and the levy have any relevance to each other," he said. "This was about the performance our schools."

Rush said he and his family supported the levy.

"I hope that the levy passing by a wide margin the first time on the ballot signals a shift in the electorate that they recognize the value of our schools," he said.

Bawn said the district receiving an "excellent with distinction" on the state report card for the 2011-12 school year might have helped pass the levy.

"I do believe the state report card provides some verification of the good work being done by staff and students," he said. "It doesn't hurt, but it really does not tell the complete story either."

School board member Jim Dodderer also expressed gratitude to voters.

"It's just awesome," he said, adding that he appreciates the people's willingness to put up political signs and promote the levy. "When it comes down to it, Johnstown always supports the schools."

Board vice president Amy Ramey said the levy's passage would help the district to continue in the right direction.

"I'm really happy the community let us do that," she said. "We can continue to be excellent every year with distinction."

Moving forward, Ramey said, she's sure district residents would monitor the nonpublic busing situation to see how it is handled.

"We'll make sure we use those dollars wisely," she said, adding that board members would do their best to decide what's financially prudent and fair for Johnstown-Monroe.

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