Johnstown Independent

Johnstown-Monroe board

Levy vote prompts Davis to resign

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It's not official yet, but Johnstown-Monroe Board of Education member John Davis II said he felt comfortable enough with his decision to publicly announce his plans to resign from the school board as soon as the paperwork is ready.

"I don't think I can work within the parameters of the (existing) board," said Davis, who has been on the board since 2005.

He said a pair of events that had occurred during the Jan. 21 board meeting prompted his decision to resign.

First was the board's vote not to place a bond issue on the May ballot to replace the district's aging and overcrowded facilities. The board voted 3-2 to place an issue on the May ballot, but Superintendent Damien Bawn said four affirmative votes were necessary for passage. Board members Amy Ramey and Terry Holter voted against placing it on the May ballot.

Treasurer Tammy Woods said board members were considering a 6.55-mill bond issue plus an additional 0.5-mill permanent improvement levy that the state requires to be placed on the ballot or maintenance of new facilities.

"I'm really disappointed that board didn't place a ballot issue," Davis said. "Nobody likes higher taxes, but our schools are in dire straits."

He said he believes the public should have an opportunity to vote for new facilities as soon as possible.

Ramey said she agrees that Johnstown-Monroe's facilities are inadequate and that something must be done soon. She said that in her opinion, the district should renew an upcoming emergency levy before a separate ballot issue is placed to finance new facilities. Renewing an emergency levy would allow the existing buildings to operate, she said.

Ramey said she would consider placing the facilities levy on the August ballot, assuming an emergency levy is renewed.

"We'll be able to turn the lights on in the schools," she said.

Woods said the board would discuss the emergency levy Jan. 29, but as of Jan. 24 she did not know what the millage would be.

Davis said he also was disappointed that board members did not try harder to talk Bawn out of retiring. On Jan. 21, Bawn announced he would retire as of Feb. 28.

"There was no support for him not to retire," Davis said.

Overall, Davis said, he believes the current board is "micromanaging" the district and that he does not believe that approach is in the district's best interest. He said that generally speaking, he has many reasons for resigning.

The bottom line, however, he said, is that "I saw the writing on the wall."

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