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Voters to decide school issue

News editor

A resolution approved Monday by the board of education gives USD 410 voters the decision of whether the district will keep nearly $100,000 in its local option budget.

In 2014, 80 percent of district voters approved an increase in the portion of the budget raised through local sources to 31 percent. The school board took a one-time, one-year option to increase it to 33 percent, which raised approximately $99,000.

Without voter approval to make the change permanent, that $99,000 will go away next year.

“If we don’t maintain it, it will reduce our local option budget by 2 percent, effectively forcing us to cut that much more out of the budget next year,” Superintendent Steve Noble said.

Even though the total increase in the local option budget was 3 percent, court-ordered state equalization aid received by the district caused the mill levy to drop 2.1 mills this year, Noble said.

The ballot language will ask for the local option budget to increase to 33 percent, even though that’s where it is now.

“I would love for the ballot to say ‘maintain 33 percent,’ but the law says you’re at 31 percent with a one-year caveat,” Noble said.

Passing the measure won’t increase taxes, since it would just maintain what is already being levied, Noble said. Changes in property valuation could change what individuals pay.

“We can’t control what the property values are worth, that’s a county appraiser thing,” Noble said. “Whatever increases in value, it’s likely your taxes will go up.”

In other business:

  • The board approved seeking bids for computer switch upgrades at the attendance centers. The estimated total cost of $54,300 would be offset by approximately $38,000 in funds from the E-Rate program, leaving only about $16,000 for the district to pick up.
  • A new school bus purchase decision was deferred to the February board meeting after members raised questions as to why a spare bus was being used as a trade-in.
  • Michele Melton’s resignation as high school cheerleader sponsor was accepted, and will be effective at the end of basketball season.
  • Superintendent Noble’s contract was extended to June 30, 2017, in keeping with past practice of the board to have a two-year contract in place. No change was made in Noble’s compensation at this time, but changes could be considered along with other district personnel in June.

Last modified Jan. 14, 2015

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