Tax Asking Down In Approved District #18 School Budget

Public hearings were held prior to the start of Wednesday night’s regular meeting of the District #18 Board of Education.
No one from the public addressed the board on the proposed FY 2015/16 school budget, nor about the proposed tax asking.
Consequently, after the hearings were closed and the board went into regular session, passage of the budget and tax asking were a mere formality. On a vote of six-to-zero, the board passed the items which taxpayers should find much to their liking.
The budget calls for a tax asking of $2,668,127.14. That breaks down to $2,449,108.42 for the general fund and another $219,018.73 for the special building fund.
The tax asking represents an 11 percent reduction from one year ago.
Polk told the board the decline in tax asking is in large part due to “good fiscal management.” He said the school district carried over a good beginning balance, then there was revenue from the nameplate tax assessed to the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy farm, and also a sizable increase in state aid.
The budget calls for an increase in spending of just 2.5 percent. Yet, Polk said there will be a tax reduction of approximately $351,000.
Projecting ahead, Polk said it could be two to three years before the school district asks for the same approximate amount of tax dollars as they did last year.
“In my mind, that’s great news for taxpayers,” the superintendent said.
Having reviewed tax levy figures from other school districts in the state, he said District #18 will be either the second or third lowest in the state. The lowest? The Humphrey school district, he said.
In other school developments:
Football — Principal Greg Wemhoff said a Wolfpack committee, comprised of representatives from both schools, met earlier in the day. Eight-man football is a big concern, he said.
The committee is confident, he said, that the school should be able to stay at 8-man for next year and should be good for the two-year rotation.
Members — Wemhoff told the board FCCLA has 21 members, one-act has 33 and FFA has 46 members. “It’s neat to see the kids involved in different activities,” he said.
Gym floor — Polk told board member there are still some issues with the edge of the gym floor rising due to humidity. Overall, he said the new gym floor has been “very well received.”
In a matter of a few minutes, the board approved on second and final reading changes to school policies involving meeting minutes, equal opportunity employment, facilities for milk expression, certificated employee qualifications and recruitment, support staff qualifications and recruitment, return from pediatric cancer, curriculum development, bidding procedures, construction plans and specifications, and bids and awards for construction contracts.
The next regular meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 14, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the distance learning room at the high school.