Archive for Wednesday, July 27, 2011

USD 464 mill levy decrease proposed

Tonganoxie USD 464 central office.

Tonganoxie USD 464 central office.

July 27, 2011, 9:35 a.m.

Updated: July 29, 2011, 6:09 p.m.

The Tonganoxie USD 464 Board of Education approved holding the line with the 2011-12 budget.

It’s actually a slight reduction in mills from the actual 2010-11 budget.

To do so, Superintendent Randy Weseman reallocated the budget, increasing the local option budget to 20.332 mills for the upcoming year — an increase of more than 3 mills (17.286) from the actual 2010-11 budget.

To offset that increase, capital outlay was decreased by nearly 3 mills, from 6.901 in the actual 2010-11 budget to 4 mills for the proposed 2011-12 budget. Bond and interest also drops slightly, from 10.628 mills in the 2010-11 actual budget to 10.464 for the proposed 2011-12 budget.

“We had to roll back the capital fund,” Weseman said after Monday’s special meeting. “We’re going to drop that because the board feels it’s not a good time to be increasing the mill levy.”

The 2010-11 budget (54.815) was more than 2 mills higher than the 2009-10 budget (52.7).

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in property valuation.

With the current economic climate and the mill levy jump this past year, the board wanted to keep the mills at a comparable number.

“The downside is if you want to keep the mill levy steady, something has to be lowered,” Weseman said during the meeting. “You don’t want to lower the local option budget because of state aid.”

It’s also funding that has steadily decreased from the state in recent years. And with holding the line with the mill levy, Weseman said the district would “have to be very conservative with all our budgets.”

For instance, the district plans to hold off on roof repairs that are expected to total $300,000 at the high school. Earlier this year, the district was looking at splitting that repair work into two phases starting with the coming school year, but will now be delaying for another year.

Weseman said the district was in good shape with cash reserves and he had budgeted for any unforeseen expenses.

Still, belt tightening will be important.

“It doesn’t put me to bed early, but yeah, it’s doable,” Weseman said, responding to a board member question of the district being able to have a slight decrease in its levy.

The proposed budget will be published in The Mirror in advance of a public hearing, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15 with the regular meeting to start at 6 p.m. at the Tonganoxie High School library on the school’s west campus.

The board approved publication of the budget, 5-0, with Kris Grinter and Dan Hopkins absent.

The school district also serves as a vehicle for Tonganoxie Recreation Commission budget. The commission’s budget is approved by its board and then a public hearing takes place. The recreation commission approved a total of 4.5 mills for 2011-12, up 1 mill from the previous year.

“It’s basically a paperwork issue,” Weseman said, noting that money is sent on to the recreation commission.

School board approves increase in wages, salary, benefits

Administrators, supervisors and classified staff will receive increases for the 2011-12 school year.

For each of the 12 administrators and supervisors in the district, there’s an average $800 increase in salary for a total cost of $9,600 for the district.

Classified staff will receive a 15-cent per hour increase, which equates to $18,500 among 93 staff members.

Health insurance will increase for 12-month, full-time employees to meet federal guidelines. That’s $11,250 among 24 staff members.

The board approved similar increases for teachers at the July 10 regular meeting.

The board approved the master employment manual for certified employees. Teachers also will receive on average an $800 increase in pay, as well as the reinstatement of the kindergarten through fourth-grade chair positions. The total cost of the increased salaries is $96,500 among 142 teachers.

Members say yes to revised special education cooperative agreement

The school board approved an updated Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative cooperating district agreement. The new agreement translates to the Pleasant Ridge school district, the smallest in the county, having its contribution rolled back and the other districts covering that money for 2011-12.

It will be a reduction of roughly $70,000 for that school district, with reallocation to other districts being handled in the 2012-13 budget year.

Board member Kay Smith asked Weseman whether the Easton district had a legitimate concern in wanting the agreement restructured.

“If I were superintendent at Easton, I’d be making that case,” Weseman said.

He also noted “its valuable for us to have Easton” in the cooperative.

Weseman said Tuesday the plan was more equitable than using enrollment weightings to determine how much each district pays in to the cooperative.

Resignation, hire approved

Stacy Baker will join the district as a kitchen manager, while Krystal Robbins, Tonganoxie Elementary School art teacher, is leaving the district.

Robbins resigned to take advantage of another opportunity that presented itself earlier this month, she said in her resignation letter.

Baker most recently worked as food service department manager with TLC for Children and Families Inc., in Olathe.

Also, during the July 11 meeting, the board approved the hire of Amanda Lenon as fourth-grade teacher. Lenon is a 2010 Emporia State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

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