Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, informed board members that interviews of the firms being considered to help with long-range facility planning will take place on Aug. 24.
Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, provided the board with information for budget planning. Assessed valuations had increased 3.29%, which means one mill will generate more revenue than previously. The state base per pupil funding is $3,852, and Mr. Faust commented that that amount is $9 less than USD 383 received in 2003-04, and it would be $6,100 per pupil if state funding kept up with inflation. The special education fund’s cash balance was down $600,000, which was a trend seen across the state, and Mr. Faust said he was concerned about needing to supplement the special education fund. Mr. Faust recommended a mill levy of 55.324 mills, which represented a decrease of 0.637 mills. For the average home price, the homeowner would pay $23 more in taxes. Mr. Faust also provided board members with information for including a 1% cost of living levy, which would generate approximately $415,000 in revenue that would be put into the contingency reserves.
Board member Leah Fliter said she was concerned about budget cuts coming from the state and would be more comfortable with including the cost of living option and having the additional funding as a cushion. Dave Colburn commented that the school district can’t get a loan, so the board has to guess and has to get a loan in advance, so to speak. He was not happy about the idea of taking $415,000 out of the community, didn’t like the choices the board is facing, and pointed out that administration didn’t recommend the cost of living increase. The board approved 4-3 setting the mill levy at 55.324 mills without the 1% cost of living increase, with Aaron Estabrook, Leah Fliter, and Pat Hudgins dissenting. The board will have a public hearing on the budget on Aug. 17.
The board also approved ratification of the negotiated agreement with teachers, which included a 2.52% compensation package increase and an increase of $775.00 to the base teacher salary.