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By DAVE HINTON
Rantoul Press editor
LUDLOW — The Ludlow school board will seek a tax levy increase of 14.21 percent over the previous year’s levy.
The proposed levy will bring in an estimated $563,138 — up from $493,000 in 2011 — if property tax values climb to that amount.
Superintendent Dru Lobmaster said the hike is so high due to the Consumer Price Index (3 percent), which is up from last year’s 1.5 percent.
State law ties the levy to the amount of the CPI.
The board adopted the levy at its meeting last week, which followed a tax levy hearing. No one from the public attended the hearing.
The board also conducted a working cash bond hearing prior to the meeting. In November, the board adopted a resolution to issue $150,000 “or less” in working cash bonds to shore up its depleted reserves.
The board is expected to approve issuing the bonds at its January meeting.
Kevin Willis of First Midstate addressed the board about the bond issue.
The board approved an amended school calendar.
Students will not attend school Monday, Jan. 7, as originally scheduled. Instead, teachers will take part in a teacher institute with teachers from Gifford and Thomasboro schools to work on common core standards. School will resume Jan. 8.
The teacher institute was originally scheduled Feb. 15. Now, children will attend school that day.
In addition, Jan. 18 will be a full day of school, Lobmaster said. Classes originally had been scheduled to dismiss early that day.
The board approved the employment of Brandon Roberts as a part-time teacher (4 1/2 hours a day) to teach second grade during the second semester. He will serve as a teacher aide during the afternoons.
Lobmaster said Roberts completed his student teaching at Ludlow.
“We hired him so we could split the second grade and first grade in the morning,” Lobmaster said. “We’ve had a substitute teacher who’s been helping us with that.”
Jennifer Tucker teaches first grade.
A resident of Rossville, Roberts graduated from Blackburn College.
The board also hired Larry McMullen of Rantoul as part-time custodian. McMullen has seven years custodial experience in Lincoln schools.
The board approved an employment contract with former custodian George Kissell of Ludlow, who is retiring effective Dec. 25 after 11 years with the district. Kissell will work a limited number of hours as a general maintenance coordinator/site supervisor for special projects. He will also train and supervise McMullen.
Lobmaster also spoke with the board about school security issues.
The board approved a proposal from Waters Electric, Rantoul, for $2,654 for electrical work for four new Promethian multi-media boards to be placed in classrooms.
The board learned that teachers raised $350 for the PBIS program by working at McTeacher Night at the Rantoul McDonald’s.
The board also learned that the school Christmas program Dec. 6 went well.
“There was not an empty seat in the house,” Lobmaster said.