Tuesday, August 01, 2000

Monroe, Middletown reach deal


Fourteen percent of combined resources going to Monroe schools

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN - The Monroe Local Schools will receive about 14 percent of the resources of the former combined district with Middletown under an agreement approved Monday by the two school boards.

        The plan outlines exactly how the two districts will split such things as computers, cash and textbooks. Transition teams from the two districts hammered out the agreement; discussions had begun last fall. It still must be approved by the Ohio Board of Education.

        “We tried to arrive at something equitable, given the history of the last 45 years” as a combined district, said Edmund Pokora, Middletown Schools' treasurer.

        On July 1, Monroe became its own district, taking about 11 percent of the combined district's enrollment and almost 18 percent of its tax base, Mr. Pokora said.

        The Monroe board will get Lemon-Monroe High School and Monroe Elementary School, and enough furnishings, textbooks, computers and other materials to equip five elementary classrooms, representing the 125 children who live in Monroe but had been assigned to elementary schools in Middletown.

        Junior high textbooks and educational materials for 169 students will go to Monroe, because all of Monroe's seventh- and eighth-graders went to a Middletown middle school.

        Maintenance and custodial supplies and equipment will remain where they are. Seven 72-passenger buses, one 16-passenger bus and one bus with a wheelchair lift will go to Monroe, along with four vans. About 14 percent of food from the government commodities program will go to Monroe.

        When independent auditors at Plattenburg & Associates finish the final audit as a combined district, a final cash adjustment will be made, Mr. Pokora said. Proceeds from levies will be split through Dec. 31, 2001. Cash will be split either by percent of students in each district, tax base or 14 percent, depending on the source of the money, Mr. Pokora said.

        “It's an agreement that both sides can live with,” said Jamie Pierce, president of the Monroe Board of Education. “Acceptance of the agreement doesn't mean it's done, but the process (of division) has already begun.”

        Mr. Pokora estimated it might take another four to six months before everything is split.

        The agreement also calls for the transfer of any surplus Middletown equipment, not already spelled out in the agreement, to Monroe if it is needed. Any disagreements are to be resolved by the Ohio Department of Education staff, Mr. Pokora said.

       



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