Monroe council expresses support for levies

By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
Monroe City Council adopted two resolutions in support of the Monroe School District during Tuesday's council meeting. The resolutions support current school district levy propositions including a program and operations levy, along with an educational technology levy. The program and operations levy is a renewal of an expiring levy, while the educational technology levy is a new levy which will help provide funding to update school technology.
The district has submitted both propositions to local voters for support; ballots are due on February 11.
The educational technology levy funding is intended to help narrow a technological infrastructure gap that exists in the Monroe Schools District. One of the projects proposed for levy funding include a district-wide Windows XP migration in an effort to move the workstations away from the antiquated operating system. The district has reported that as of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP.
Currently, approximately 2,000 workstations in use by staff and students still utilize Windows XP.
Other projects targeted for technology levy funding include updating the district's network cabling and upgrades to the district's data center.
The district's network cabling, in some schools, is generations behind the current technological standard.
The program and operations levy, otherwise known as the "learningGÇ¥ levy, currently provides 21 percent of the general operating fund. The learning levy helps to support the music and arts program, classroom supplies and updated textbooks and curriculum, athletics and special education programs. It also assists in the funding of transportation, maintenance of buildings and grounds, as well as providing teachers with competitive salaries.
Monroe School Board President Katy Woods thanked council for adding the school district support resolutions to the agenda.
"We look forward to this partnership between the schools and the city because that is what makes great schools,GÇ¥ said Woods.
All councilmembers expressed support. The motion to adopt resolution in support of the school district levies passed unanimously.
Mayor Geoffrey Thomas thanked council for their affirmative motion in regards to the resolutions.
"I too am supportive of the resolution, not that I vote,GÇ¥ said Mayor Thomas. "I appreciate everybody's support.GÇ¥
Monroe City Council Student Representative Karen Vasatka was absent but asked Councilmember Jim Kamp to give her report.
Monroe High School is hosting a "We Are One NightGÇ¥ at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12 in an effort to celebrate Valentine's Day, as well as raise money for the school's Free the Children fundraising campaign. The evening will consist of Valentine's Day crafts and games, a lasagna dinner at 6:30 p.m., a speaker from Free the Children and performances by the choir and drama department.
"It's a lot like the homecoming fair,GÇ¥ said Kamp.
The entry fee is $3 with a $5 suggested donation for the dinner.-á All proceeds will go to support Free the Children.-á Monroe High School is working towards a goal of raising $10,000 for Free the Children, which will be utilized for the construction of a school in one of the organization's developing countries.
Everyone is welcome to attend the event including students, community members, families and school district staff.
Council will hold further discussion on a way-finding signage plan that would feature the design of directional signage for pedestrians and vehicles, plus signage to indicate parking areas. The plan also includes design for map kiosks and gateway monuments. The city received seven design proposals in December for consideration; council agreed that additional discussion was needed occur prior to making a decision.
It was the consensus that further input needed to be obtained from the Planning Commission, Parks Board and the Citizen Advisory Group.
Upon completion, the formal design plan will include specific detail on the appearance, terminology and installation locations of the way-finding signage. The project has been budgeted for and was intended to coincide with the 2015 Comprehensive Plan Update.


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