Staff Writer

ORWELL - - The state has approved Grand Valley Local Schools' plan for spending the one-half-mill maintenance levy voters approved.

Voters passed the levy four years ago, when the district embarked on it's new-school construction program.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission approved the board's plan for the funds in December, Superintendent John Sheets explained. OSFC partnered with Grand Valley on the $38 million campus-style school that housed all grade levels. The state funded two-thirds of the cost to construct the school, which opened in fall 2005; local taxpayers funded the remaining one-third, plus the one-half mill.

"Any items we bought for the new building pertaining to it's preventative maintenance, repairs or replacement of components are the allowable uses for the levy money," Sheets said. "Now, after the OSFC approved the plan, we can spend the money. We spent about $80,000 so far and took it from our general fund and permanent improvement levy accounts," he said.

The money will be reimbursed back to those two funds, he said.

The special levy cannot be used for routine janitorial or utility costs, supplies or personnel associated with day-to-day housekeeping and site upkeep of the school. The funds are being used for maintenance contracts, including annual elevator inspections and purchase of special equipment needed to maintain the building or grounds.

The five-year capital plan is subject to audit and will be updated annually under a resolution the board adopted Monday.

In the reorganizational portion of the board meeting, David Hendershott was re-elected to serve as president and Tammy Lawrence as vice president. The board is keeping it's regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month in Room 104 at the high school.

The board has contracted again this year with the Riley Law Firm of Westlake, and Britton, Smith, Peters and Kalail Co. of Cleveland. The Riley firm handles matters relating to construction, Sheets said.

Additional after-school reading intervention tutors were hired by the board, including Cynthia Thomas for Session I and II, Sue Gray for Session I, Sue Franklin for Sessions I and II, and Tracie Murdick for Session II. Each tutor will be paid $450 for each session.

In financial matters, the board accepted the tax rates for 2008 as determined by the Ashtabula County Budget Commission and as certified by the county auditor's office. The breakdown of the tax rates include: inside millage, 4 mills for operations; outside voted millages of 36.66 mills for operations, 1.55 mills for permanent improvements, 7.3 mills for OSFC project bond retirement and 0.5 mill for school building maintenance.

Board members also received special certificates honoring them for their dedication and service, given out by Sheets, from the Ohio School Boards Association.

Star Beacon Print Edition: 1/10/2007

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