Lockwood school board OKs levy election

2010-03-09T22:19:00Z Lockwood school board OKs levy electionZACH BENOIT Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
March 09, 2010 10:19 pm  • 

The Lockwood School Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to ask Lockwood voters to approve a $191,652 general-fund levy in May.

Money from the levy would go toward the K-8 district’s general fund, which pays for its operations, including salaries and utilities. The board passed the resolution 4-2.

Superintendent Eileen Johnson said that, if passed, this levy would play in important role in keeping current staff on board and paying salaries.

Trustees acknowledged that tough economic times make it difficult to ask voters for more money.

“I don’t want to lose staff,” said trustee Becky Malenowsky. “I don’t want to see our school decrease in any way, but everybody’s tightening their belts right now.”

Johnson said that if the levy passes, homeowners with a home valued at $50,000 would pay an extra $5.05 in new taxes for the year while those with a home valued at $250,000 would pay an extra $26.49.

The board also approved plans to move forward with three trustee elections on the upcoming May 4 ballot. The positions are for three three-year trustee positions whose terms expire this year. Currently holding the positions are Peter Freivalds, Tim Sather and Jason Hamrick.

In an effort to save money for the school district, the board unanimously approved a proposal to offer some Lockwood teachers an early-retirement incentive. A one-time $15,000 payment, along with any other already-established retirement benefits, will be offered to up to three teachers who meet certain criteria and wish to retire early, allowing the district to bring in newer teachers at a lower salary.

It is expected have a positive effect on the schools budget for the next three to five years, Sather said. The yearly salaries for the eligible teachers range from about $50,000 to $65,000.

“You can easily see how the numbers would help in the short term,” Sather said.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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