PCSC board votes to adopt a referendum tax levy resolution

Plymouth Community School Corp. Superintendent Andy Hartley
Carol Anders

The Plymouth School Board members were in unanimous agreement during their Feb. 12 meeting to adopt a Referendum Tax Levy Resolution.

Registered voters residing in the boundaries of the school corporation will be asked to vote on the referendum at an election to be held on May 7.

The referendum would raise property taxes by up to 19 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for an eight-year period.

According to Plymouth Schools Superintendent, Andy Hartley, the money raised would be earmarked for enhanced safety and security initiatives, mental health support programs, and attracting and retaining teachers.

Hartley said the 19 cent increase is a not–to-exceed and any increase would be based on need.

Hartley indicated that the board determined the need for an increase is based on current revenue calculations for the years 2020 through an including 2027.

He said a lot has changed over the last 10 years that he has been in the Plymouth schools when it comes to the way schools approach safety and security of both students and staff.

He said there is a need to provide additional aide in the areas of mental health along with social and emotional supports for students.

Currently there are two social workers at the elementary level and each divides time between two schools.

Riverside Intermediate and Plymouth High School each have one mental health counselor and Lincoln Junior High does not have any. Hartley said,

“One particular goal has been to have at least one full-time social worker in every school.”

Hartley said the need to attract and retain teachers is also priority.

According to Hartley, the beginning teacher salary at Plymouth is lower than the starting pay at Warsaw, Argos, Triton, John Glenn, Triton, and LaVille schools.

The board and administration had put in place measures to balance their budget over the last few years.

It was noted in previous board meetings that projected revenue losses for 2018 would be approximately $600,000.

They were successful in managing the shortfall by reducing the number of teachers and staff by not replacing employees when there were retirements or resignations along with taking savings measures in other areas.