HOWARD — Taking proactive steps to protect the district’s financial future, the East Knox Board of Education on Friday passed two resolutions to place an emergency operating levy on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The move was necessary due to changes in state law regarding filing deadlines for elections.
Knox County Auditor Jonette Curry certified that a property tax of 4.97 mills will be necessary to raise the $1.2 million needed to offset an equal projected deficit. Optimistic about the outcome of the Aug. 3 special election, the board directed Treasurer Jessi Busenburg to hold off on filing the resolutions with the Knox County Board of Elections until the votes cast in the special election are tabulated.
As with the Aug. 3 special election, the November ballot will ask district residents to pass a five-year 4.97-mill levy to raise funds to pay for things such as salaries and utilities. If approved, the levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $152 a year, or $76 a half year. Curry said the tax amount is figured on 35 percent of the home’s appraised value.
Busenburg said she recently attended a workshop about the state budget. She said indications are there will be a cap of 1.5 percent on increases in state funding to schools. While in the past the state has guaranteed funding at 100 percent of the previous year’s level, Busenburg said, the guarantee amount will most likely be reduced to 95 percent in the next biennium budget. That will result in the loss of several thousand dollars in state funding, she said.
It is also unclear at this point as to whether the state will pick up approximately $275,000 in federal stimulus funds the school has received.
To help balance the budget, the district has made substantial cuts in personnel and programs, and, said high school principal Ryan Gallwitz, that has impacted student scheduling. He reported the 2010-11 class schedules are completed, and some students are not getting the classes they wanted due to the cuts — they will be able to take those desired classes later in the curriculum cycle.
“We have tried to accommodate all student needs,” he said. “We just cannot honor all requests due to budget cuts.”
Also regarding finances, the board approved routine fiscal actions, agreed to participate in the free and reduced lunch program for the 2010-11 school year and renewed a contract with Sheakley UniService for workers’ compensation administration. It also approved contracts with Cornerstone Pediatric Therapy for required physical therapy services and with The Rehab Center for required student audiological services for the 2010-11 school year. The board contracted with ProGuard for district exterminating and approved the lease of copiers for the high school office and the elementary building. Busenburg said the new leases with MT Business will cost less than the current lease with Xerox, which is expiring.
Personnel actions taken by the board included the employment of Debra Hoy as middle school intervention specialist, and the approval of Gary Young, via supplemental contract, as band director. Bev Sivits was approved as senior class advisor for the 2010-11 school year and Elizabeth Pozderac was advanced on the salary schedule due to completion of requirements.
Summer school will be held Aug. 2 to 13 from 8:45 a.m. to 12 noon in the middle school. Students exiting kindergarten through grade seven have the opportunity to participate.