USD 410 Board of Education tried to strike a balance Monday between increasing taxes and spending the district’s reserve funds.
The result was a budget with property taxes 4.9 mills lower than published, but still 2.059 mills above 2010-11 levels, a 3.4 percent increase in property taxes. Property taxes on a residential building with an appraised value of $75,000 will be $17.76 higher for 2011-12.
The largest increase, 2.439 mills, was in the bond and interest fund. The district is obligated to levy that money to pay its debts on voter-approved bond projects.
Another 1.620 mills was increased in the local option budget to maximize the amount of state aid the district receives. The district receives a match of state funds on the local option budget.
Superintendent Steve Noble recommended keeping the capital outlay levy steady at 5.100 mills. That would have given the district an overall tax increase of 4.059 mills.
“To me, 4 mills is quite a bit,” board president Eddie Weber said.
He said he would prefer to find a middle ground and spend a portion of the district’s reserve funds.
Board member Rod Koons said it might even be worth lowering the capital outlay levy to entirely avoid a tax increase for one year. During that year, the board and administrators could try to find additional ways to rein in spending. Whichever route the board took, Koons said he thought constituents would support the decision.
“I don’t think we’re randomly and foolishly spending those dollars at all,” Koons said.
Weber said the board saw difficult times ahead several years ago and decided to aggressively increase reserves for a day like this.
Board member Joe Sechrist asked Noble whether he would be comfortable with decreasing the capital outlay levy by 2 mills for a single year. That would reduce the capital outlay fund to below $500,000, which Noble said he considers the minimum long-term amount needed for a district the size of USD 410.
“But yes, for one year, I think we can make that happen,” Noble said.
The board unanimously approved the budget with a 2.059 mill increase. Board member Mark Rooker was absent.
Nobody from the general public attended the budget hearing.
In other business:
- Karen Elliott resigned as a Parents as Teachers parent educator. Her hours will be assigned to other parent educators.
- Lee Albrecht will drive a regular bus route, taking over John McMinn’s route. The board approved a contract for Albrecht.
- Katelin Unruh was hired as an aide for at-risk students at Hillsboro High School to fill a vacant position.
- The board approved a supplemental contract for music teacher Lynn Just to direct the fifth-grade band in concerts. The supplemental contract isn’t part of the master teacher contract but will likely be added next year.
- At school sporting events or practice, if an athlete has or is suspected of having a concussion, they cannot return to playing or practicing until they have approval from a physician.
- The board will have a goal-setting meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be 7 p.m. Sept. 12.