A $3.7 million preliminary tax levy was passed by voters at the Manawa School District's annual meeting Aug. 16.

$3.7 million tax levy approved for Manawa schools

A $3.7 million preliminary tax levy was passed by voters at the Manawa School District’s annual meeting Aug. 16.

The proposed tax rate is $11.54 per $1,000 of equalized value, an increase of $1.8 over last year’s $9.74 mill rate.

The school’s preliminary $3.7 million 2010-11 budget includes: $2,700,000 operations; $932,400 for referendum debt retirement; $62,874 for non-referendum debt service; and, $70,000 for community service.

The proposed general fund budget for 2010-11 totals $8.7 million, an increase of $474,930 or 5.42 percent increase over the 2009-10 budget of $8.2 million.

Increases include: $191,289.98 for open enrollment of outgoing students; $129,534.17 for operations and maintenance; and $175.190.08 for special education transfer.

The actual levy for the 2010-11 school year will be set by the school board at its October meeting.

Costs keep going up and state aid for schools keeps decreasing, explained Director of Finance Brian Adesso. There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel. Adesso noted there are only four more payments on the building debt, which will be paid off in 2013-14. The final payment on Fund 39 is in the amount of $943,500.

The referendum money also ends after the 2011-12 school year. This referendum allows the district $195,000 annually to pay for operation and maintenance, textbooks, and buses.

School board salaries

The salary for the treasurer was the biggest issue facing the school board at the annual meeting. Paul Sturm requested that the treasurer’s annual salary of $1,500 be changed to zero.

“My intention is to donate my salary back to the school,” Sturm stated. “(Having no salary) makes the whole amount usable.” He noted otherwise there would be taxes and other fees taken off the amount.

Former board president Dennis Smith made a motion not to change board member salaries. He did not think it was fair to change one of the salaries.

“These salaries aren’t unique to the individual,” Smith explained. “They are unique to the position.”

Board member Paul Kons expressed concern that the board reorganizes every April.

2011 annual meeting

A resolution was passed to set the date for the district’s next annual meeting for 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, 2011.

Voters expressed concern that some resolutions – like those concerning student insurance and free textbooks – need to be resolved before the 2011-12 school year begins.

“All of the votes (at the annual meeting) are actually advisory votes,” Adesso stated. For instance, he explained that if the district’s voters did not approve the tax levy, the school board could still approve it.