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Ludlow School Board Approves Tax Increase; Preschool Program Awarded Grant

The Ludlow Board of Education voted last week to take a 4 percent tax increase for the 2017-18 fiscal year. 

The move should generate $1.8 million in revenue for the district.

Last year, the board approved only the so-called compensating rate but this year, board members cited an increase in city property values in believing that there is a need for the increase.

No citizen attended the public hearing prior to the board meeting to voice any concerns about the tax increase.

"We are still the third lowest rate among independent districts in the region," said Superintendent Michael Borchers. "Our rate, 90.7, comes in third behind Beechwood and Bellevue in last year's numbers, the same position we were in last year when we were 87.2."

Last Thursday, Borches and Mary A. Goetz Elementary principal Jason Steffen spoke about plans for the solar eclipse that took place on Monday. Ludlow Independent Schools kept students on campus for an additional half hour, dismissing at 3:40 p.m. instead of 3:10 p.m.

"We make decisions all the time concerning what is the best for the kids," said Borchers. "The eclipse won't be over until a half hour after our dismissal time, and if we let the kids out at regular time they might look at the eclipse and damage their eyes. We are not going to put them in a position to go out and look up."

The district offered parents the opportunity to pick up their children at an earlier time.

Steffen said that very controlled activities for the eclipse for younger children were planned so that the eclipse could be experienced but that no student would be allowed to look out a window or go outside during the event.

"We have to make sure we protect the kids," said Borchers.

Beth Ketzer, director of preschool, told the board about the recent award of a state grant worth $125,000, which will help the school implement full-day preschool.  

This comes at a great time, she said, because more children than ever are signing up for preschool.   

Ketzer said that there about 47 children signed up and that she is set to test 15 more. Not all the programs are a full day, however. Some of the programs will be half-day, but the district is set to have a record amount of children in preschool this year.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor