The Clintonville Public School District’s mill rate was raised from $12.17 per $1,000 of equalized value to $13.17 Monday, Oct. 25.
Business Manager Jenny Goldschmidt said the tax-rate increase was a result of a $408,000 cut in state aids and a 1.5 percent decrease in the district’s equalized property values.
“The budget itself was changed because of the finalized grants for the 2010-11 year as well as the settled CEA contracts,” Goldschmidt said. “The CEA settlement and the grants did not affect the levy or the levy rate.
“The equalized value, state aids, grants, and CEA contracts have all been settled since the Annual Meeting,” said Goldschmidt. “With that in mind, the budget has been adjusted. Unfortunately, the equalized value, which we had projected to be at a zero percent increase, actually came in at a 1.5 percent decrease. Our state aid is down $408,084 because we under spent last year. We also have the $575,000 HVAC upgrade this year, which is a one-time expense.”
Goldschmidt also reported that the intercom systems and clocks at the Middle School and Rexford-Longfellow need to be replaced, which will cost $48,510. Building and Grounds Manager Steve Reinke stated that the systems are 21 years old and replacement parts are no longer available. “We have taken parts from the Bear Creek building to fix the systems in the past, but we’ve used up the parts we need and replacement parts for the system we have are not manufactured anymore,” Reinke said. “We’ve been limping along for quite a few years. We have obtained some proposals to replace the systems.”
Goldschmidt said the district could use money from the fund balance to pay for the equipment, as it is a one-time expense that will have only a small effect on the school’s fund balance percentage. At the Annual Meeting, the fund balance percentage was at 26.5 percent. After expenses including a truck, lighting and heating upgrades and site carryovers, the percentage dipped to 23 percent. When factoring in the cost to replace the intercom system, the percentage slid to 22.8 percent; however the board did not approve the intercom system repairs; the item will be brought back to the board for approval at an upcoming meeting.
Paul Denis, a representative from Schenck and Associates, said that a fund balance percentage between 20 and 25 percent is considered healthy for most school districts.
The levy rate for General Fund 10 increased 92 cents, while the Debt Service Fund 30 increased five cents and the Community Fund 80 increased three cents. The total levy increase is $1, resting at $13.17 per $1,000 valuation. These increases were from what the board approved at the Annual Meeting to now, when the district received its aids and the equalized valuation figures.
The board approved the revised tax levy and tax rate by a 6-1 vote with Board Member Ben Huber voting no. The board also unanimously approved amendments to expenditures and revenues for Funds 10, 27, 50 and 80.
Rexford-Longfellow Teacher Terri Schultz also spoke to the board regarding a policy that was implemented this year that prohibits para-professional employees from making copies. Schultz explained that a para-professional position designated to be in the copy room was eliminated at the end of last year and brought back as a part-time position this year but alleges that the person was told by administration that they were not to do any copying. Schultz asked the board to reconsider this directive.
“The elementary school is different from the middle school and high school,” Schultz explained. “We have fewer textbooks; many teachers don’t use the textbooks, but use other practice and enrichment materials. We have a great number of copies that need to be made. When we lost the help of the paras, it put the burden of copying back on the teachers. It worked for a while, but I spent 25 minutes of my prep time last week waiting in line to make copies.
“In my mind, this doesn’t make sense. I come in early and stay late, and I’m happy to do that because it’s part of the job, but you pay me $42 per hour to make copies. A para would be about $10 per hour. I’ve been told the paras have been hired to work with struggling students, but don’t you want me to do that and leave the other jobs to the paras?”
Board members and administration said they would investigate the situation.
Science Instructor Greg Rose reported to the board that students participating in the Green and Healthy School Program at Clintonville High School have been working hard to assess many areas of the school to gauge energy efficiency at the facility and healthy lifestyles among students. Class participants will take action based on their findings as they work to improve their school.
A home-based education report was also presented to the board, which noted that home-based students in the district have decreased from 51 last year to 40 this year, though Superintendent Tom O’Toole stated that this number is very fluid.
Special recognition was given to the students working on the Browne’s Woods trial, as an anonymous donation of $3,000 has been given to the project, which students plan to use for gravel.
Matthew Betz was also congratulated for being recognized by the Wisconsin School Music Association and the Department of Public Instruction as one of the top student composers in Wisconsin.
The board went on to approve the following: hiring Carol Pingel as Dance Squad Coach; hiring Melissa Zschaechner to at 2.5 hours/day Food Service III position; a voluntary ESP transfer of Julie Guyette to a 7 hour/day Para I position at the middle school from her part-time Para I position.
The next School Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at the Middle School IMC.