School district lowers tax levy

News editor

It was the best of both worlds for USD 410 patrons as Superintendent Max Heinrichs reviewed budget projections with school board members Monday: Tax rates will decrease, however the district will have more room to spend in 2016-17.

An unexpected windfall of $156,000 came from county tax distributions for 2015-16 that were 13.5 percent higher than the district budgeted. The county’s period for collections was five days longer than in recent years, Heinrichs said, resulting in a surplus to be carried into this year’s budget.

Court-ordered adjustments to state funding will net an additional $47,000 in local option equalization and $62,000 in capital outlay funds, Heinrichs said.

However, the proposed budget stops short of applying all the extra funding to cutting taxes, as board practice in recent years has been to minimize cuts and increases over the long haul.

“We don’t want to have a rogue wave and get out of sync,” Heinrichs said. “We could drop it 4 mills and then next year have to add 2.7.”

The proposed budget reflects an overall drop of 1.25 mills, cutting the burden on local option taxes while increasing the amount collected for bond and interest payments.

“We plan to raid bond and interest by 2.7, but we will lower our LOB authority by 3.99,” Heinrichs said. “This will allow us to generate about $100,000 in additional bond and interest this year. Next year we’ll generate another $40,00, and in 2019 we’ll pay off a bond early, which will save us $25,000 t0 $30,000 in interest.”

With the restoration of state equalization funds, the budget should be in good shape for the upcoming year.

“With these changes our 2016-17 budget is balanced and we’re not dipping into our reserves,” Heinrichs said.

A public budget hearing will be 6 p.m. Aug. 18 at the district office.

In other business:

  • Prices for a la carte lunch selections were set at $1.50 for main courses and 70 cents for other, increases of 10 and 5 cents respectively. Child visitor lunches were increased by 5 cents to $2.35.
  • Resignations from high school head baseball coach Doug Dick and assistant Brian Allen were accepted, as was another from Lehigh bus driver Tanner Lacy.
  • Casey Moore’s daily work assignment was adjusted to 4.25 hours as high/middle school custodian and 1.75 hours as elementary lunchroom aide.
  • Supplemental contracts were approved for high school boys tennis coach Bob Woelk, summer weightlifting coach Devin Metzinger, middle school assistant boys basketball coach Todd Weeks, and CTE Club sponsor Nathan Hiebert.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2016

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