WAPAKONETA — Wapakoneta’s school board voted unanimously to move forward with a proposed tax levy aimed at school safety and security.
The levy is a one mill levy over five years, which would raise $400,000. A study done by the Auglaize County Auditor revealed that comes to about $35 for a $100,000 household, according to Superintendent Aaron Rex.
The discussion was very brief with only Vice President Josh Little backing the statements by Rex on the importance of the levy.
One of the focuses is to increase the staffing of school resource officers across the district. Currently, there is one officer for all four buildings. With the levy, the district would like to have an officer for each building, which can cut down response time significantly, Rex said.
“The important thing is we want to keep our students safe,” Rex said. “I think we’re ahead of the game when it comes to safety, but I don’t think you can ever say we’re doing more than we need to.”
The district released a survey in the fall, and about 700 people responded. About 90 percent supported the idea of heightened security measures, and 89 percent said they would support a levy to reach those goals, according to Rex.
The funds will also add a mental health counselor to the staff, add security cameras and help upgrade facilities for safety purposes.
School Board President Ron Mertz said that in his 20 years on the board, this is one of the most important levies that has come across the table.
“We live in a changing world where it’s an upside world, we all know that. Just because we are little Wapakoneta doesn’t mean it can’t happen here,” Mertz said. “We sure don’t want anything to happen, but if it does, we want to be ready.”
Rex recognized that the security levy is new, with only 11 other school districts bringing it to the table.
With the vote of approval, the levy now moves to the county auditor to calculate the total current tax valuation of the district and the amount of revenue that would be generated by the levy. It will then re-appear at the school board’s next meeting for discussion, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Gardenia Office.