HG school budget approved with tax cut

by Steve Ottman Review Correspondent

HOWARDS GROVE — The School Board approved the 2015-2016 district budget with an estimated all-fund expenditure of $10,604,012 and a proposed 1.29 percent property tax levy decrease at its annual meeting Monday, Sept 21.

The total general fund expenditure is estimated to be $9,600,748. Estimated state aid numbers for 2015- 2016 are $4,797,391 - an increase of $43,762 or 0.9 percent.

Enrollment for the school year, based on the count in the third week in September, is estimated at 840 students, which gives a three-year average of 850 students. This would project for a revenue cap limit of $8,205,186.

The board also approved the proposed tax levy of $4,126,389, a decrease of $54,004 for the 2015-2016 school year. The proposed mill rate is $9.86 per thousand, which amounts to a decrease of 1.3 percent or .13 cents. If total property values in the district increase, this would mean an even lower mill rate.

New business included the approval of nine resolutions: fixing the salaries of the school board members; authorizing a hot lunch program; authorizing audit of books and related financial affairs of the district; authorizing bus service; authorizing the board to borrow money in the form of short-term loans; designating a public depository and authorizing withdrawal of school district monies; fixing the number of days school shall be held during the school term at not less than 180 days; authorizing the board to sell personal property no longer needed by the school district; and authorizing the board to set the date of the annual meeting.

During the regular monthly board meeting, board member Kim Plass was appointed delegate for the WASB Convention to be held in Milwaukee Jan. 20- 22. Mark DeAmico was appointed as alternate.

A contract was approved for Mary Rosenthal as 4K kindergarten teacher. A new section was added due to increase in class sizes.

Superintendent Chris Peterson reported that the school decided at last month’s meeting to drop their property insurance with the state’s local government fund because of higher premiums. Peterson recommended that the school choose Traveler’s Insurance for its property insurance carrier.

Staff member Erica Lamers gave a presentation to have the school increase science requirements to three credits, creating alternative classes for vet science and food science, which may be available for the second term. Lamers created a matrix for each class and will send them into the DPI to be approved.

Board members approved the two agriculture courses.

Middle School Principal Andy Hanson gave a report on the summer school session. He reported that summer school was a success again.

Hanson said that the session started June 12 and lasted 41 days with the same amount of students attending as last year. The school district can use eight students to count towards the third Friday in September enrollment figure used to determine state aid.

Peterson gave an update on the Howards Grove Education Committee’s plans for a new auditorium. The committee needs to raise $1 million to $1.5 million before the board can consider bringing the proposal to a referendum. Acuity has proposed donating $300,000 for the auditorium.

Plans call for seating of up to 500 if approved and the auditorium can be used by all three schools. Money has been set aside by the Howards Grove Education Foundation.

Board President Mark DeAmico stated that a donation was received in the memory of/from the family of Dominick Debbink. The donation will be used for signs and or programs at the high school for reckless driving awareness.

Ryan and Mary Rosenthal donated seven ukuleles to the music program at the middle and elementary school.

Jim and Trisha Harris donated five three-quarter size guitars to the middle and elementary schools.

Floyd and Mary Ann Korpi donated money to the boys soccer program.

The FFA program received a donation from Zoetis Inc.

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