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Protect our investment in Monroeville

By Nancy Brown • Oct 31, 2017 at 9:00 AM

In April 2017, the Monroeville Board of Education voted unanimously to change the existing PI (permanent improvement) levy to a replacement levy. The millage collected will remain at 1.8 mills as passed in 1973 but tax collected will be based on current property value or $1.50 for every $25,000 in property.

The 82-year-old high school is showing its age. Updates to windows, heating systems and general repairs have been made. However, $80,000 generated by the old PI levy will be inadequate to provide ongoing maintenance in our aging, but beloved older buildings. The estimate to replace the leaky 1935 plumbing, a serious concern in the high school alone, is much more than $80,000. Stop into the high school and ask to see pipes removed from the building as leaks occur. A major plumbing overhaul is long overdue and plumbing is only one area of concern.

As a member of the BOE, I have learned that school funding is confusing. All dollars that make up the school’s total budget cannot be spent on any expense the district incurs. Money from a PI levy can only be used for improvement to the facilities, buses, and items with a 5 year or more life span. PI money CANNOT be used for salaries and benefits. It would seem that money is money but in the school arena, the source of the money often dictates how it can be spent. Furthermore, by careful budgeting and better collective purchasing, coupled with improvements in state funding — for now — and the support of Monroeville voters in our most recent levy, our district is now financially stable. Extensive building repair and maintenance will quickly erode our financial stability.

In closing, please consider the value of 1973 dollars in 2017 when you vote and help us protect our investment. Thank you.

Nancy Brown is a Monroeville Board of Education member.

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