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Special Preschool Program Planned for Ludlow Scrapped for Now, Tax Rate Increased

The Ludlow School Board voted to pass a 4 percent increase in the tax rate Thursday night at the regular board meeting. Superintendent Mike Borchers broke down how the tax hike would affect the average homeowner, saying on a $50,000 house the rate would break down to $2.25 a month and $27 a year more, on a $75,000 house the owner would pay $3.33 a month and $40 a year more, and on a $100,000 house the increase would mean $4.42 a month and $53 a year extra. He added that the increase will bring in an additional $94,532 in revenue for the district, since it is $.85.6 cents on $100 value.

In a related matter, the board affirmed a contract with the Sheriff's department to collect the taxes, current or delinquent, for 2 percent of every dollar collected. Borchers explained that the school district had been partnering with the Sheriff's department for the collection of taxes for the two percent rate, but now it will be an official contract in writing.

Preschool Director Beth Ketzer came to the meeting to explain that the hybrid all day preschool that was in the works in partnership with Children, Inc. will not be happening this year.

Ketzer was fairly sure that she had about 12 children ready to go into the program, but only three children were set to go into the program, and that was not enough. Ketzer was very disappointed, and promised to go back to the drawing board so that the program could begin next year.

"Children, Inc has already started renting the St James building and wants to put some money into renovating the building," said Ketzer. "One of the problems we ran into was the cost to parents, which was too much especially when there are two children in the family needing the program, and another factor was that the United Way funding was cut."

In other business, the board OK'd the final payment of $10,000 for the heating and air conditioning project. They also chose Quast Paving as the company to expand the parking lot beside the stadium, with its bid of $46,062. Once that was passed, the board needed to reaffirm the BG­1 for the entire project, which brought the cost of the project to $1,529,097. The project of the gym addition will go out for bids on Monday, and the bids will be due on September 9, after which there will be a special meeting scheduled.

The district had a difficult time obtaining a gifted and talented certified teacher for the year, so the board passed an emergency certification for Courtney Disibio, who will take the position for one year.

The board also passed the final evaluation of the superintendent. Borchers received exemplary ratings in six out of seven leadership qualities, scoring accomplished in human resources leadership. This outstanding evaluation assured Borchers of another four year term.

"Thank you for your confidence," Borchers told the board.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor