Minster Voters To Cast Ballots For Renewal Levy

MINSTER — On Tuesday, Minster residents will head to the polls to decide the fate of a number of issues.

One of these issues will be the renewal of a five-year Permanent Improvement Levy for Minster Local Schools.

“We have records that show that this levy has been in place since before 1976,” Minster Local Schools Superintendent Brenda Boeke said in a recent address to the Minster Service Club. “So for 35 years we’ve had a commitment by this community to support the levy. We appreciate that greatly.”

The 0.8-mil levy equates to 8 cents for every $1,000 of valuation.  Boeke said it generates approximately $32,000 per year for the district.

The money then goes into the Permanent Improvement Fund, where it is only used toward the replacement or improvement of equipment and facilities. None of the money will go toward paying salaries, benefits, programs or services.

“Basically, it generates funds to maintain the school district facilities,” Boeke said. “Obviously if we don’t have this fund, we would then have to use general fund monies to take care of the improvements that have to be made to the facilities and the equipment that we buy.”

Minster Local Schools Treasurer Laura Klosterman said money from the fund has been used for many things over the past five years, including paving parking lots, purchasing desks and fixing or purchasing pipes.

Permanent Improvement funds also helped purchase a new bus during the 2006-07 school year.

One of the biggest improvements occurred in 2010, when the majority of the 45-year-old windows from the 7-12 building were replaced.

“It was time to do it because we were losing, obviously, energy conservation,” Klosterman said.

Also during 2010, the front lot of the K-6 building was paved, new flooring was added to the K-6 building, an exterior door, HVAC and structural repair were paid for at the 7-12 building, Minster Memorial Stadium lights were repaired and a truck lease was paid.

During the current  academic year, the district plans to resurface the gym floors, add an HVAC to the K-6 building and pay a truck lease. The district has already started on a lighting project and also hopes to replace the roof of the 7-12 building.

“There’s portions of that roof that are the original yet, so that’s a concern of ours,” Boeke said. “Unfortunately we’ve had some leaks already this year from that roof. So we’re looking at replacing that.”

The district would also like to replace the boiler room doors in the 7-12 building.

“Those doors, we would like to make more energy-efficient by putting a double entrance there, and another project would be to do that same type of door on the high school gym entrance to make that more energy-efficient, but that would be a huge undertaking,” Boeke said.

The district also needs to continually keep up with maintaining the parking lots.

“Obviously asphalt replacement happens all the time,” Boeke said. “With all of the buses being parked where they are, that’s going to require a continual replacement and always being looked at.”

Boeke would like to address some communication issues in the near-future if the levy renewal passes.

Boeke  said she would also like to address some security measures.

“We have never installed any cameras or any kind of security around our school system, nor in our buses,” Boeke said. “At the time we change those radios out might be the time to look at providing some kind of security on our buses.”

Each year, any extra money from the approximately $32,000 Permanent Improvement Fund gets thrown into a pot. The district currently has about $60,000 in that pot, Klosterman said.

“We’ve got a list,” she said. “$32,000 isn’t going to fix that. So we’ve got to prioritize and make some decisions. Right now, we need the levy to pass so that we can at least have a pot of money to start chipping away at some of this.”

In addition to discussing the levy, Boeke also discussed some other aspects of the Minster Local School District.

Boeke was pleased with the smoothness of the consolidation of grades K-6 in the former middle school building, and grades 7-12 in the former high school building.

“Everything went well,” Boeke said. “Everybody worked together and the kids adjusted much easier than any of the adults did, which is always the case. Truthfully, we didn’t have anybody lost. Everybody knew where they were going. Their stuff was there when they needed it and life is good. The teachers are pleased having everybody in one campus area. It makes for a much better day for the teachers who transfer between buildings. The consolidation has actually worked very well.”