July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Levy is likely in Buckeye’s near future

YORK TWP. — Everyone working for Buckeye Local Schools should be proud of what they have achieved in improving every aspect of the district, Superintendent Dennis Honkala said Friday morning.

“Buckeye has come a long way academically, financially, athletically
and in the arts,” he said during his state of the schools address.

Teachers and staff members attended the breakfast speech as part of an in-service day, which included workshops and meetings in the afternoon. Students had the day off, but members of the marching band and two choral groups entertained those in attendance.

During his short speech, Honkala brought up a “four-letter word”: levy.

School officials have said they must put a levy on the ballot next year after deciding not to this November due to the economy. The last time voters passed a new operating levy was 17 years ago.

“We’ve done everything that could be expected by a district,” Honkala said.

Because of several levy failures, students who participate in sports or other groups, such as the marching band, must pay nearly $400 a year, and there is no busing for high school students.

Despite its financial issues, Buckeye has received the highest rating on the state’s school report card, Excellent with Distinction, a ranking only
74 of the 612 school districts received this year, he said.

Honkala also said passage of a 0.5 percent countywide sales tax in 2007 for school improvement projects has helped the district. Buckeye has been able to purchase Smartboards for every classroom and help finish the construction of a new track and field house with revenue from the tax, he said.

In the future, revenue will fund the expansion of the elementary school complex, which is expected to begin by the end of the year, he said.

Also at the breakfast, the district’s employees of the year were announced. Diane Christopher is teacher of the year and Buckeye Junior High head custodian Lynn Frantz is the staff member of the year.