School levy may drop
Clintonville enrollment holding steady
By Bert Lehman
The proposed tax levy for the School District of Clintonville is projected to decrease this school year.
Tom O’Toole, superintendent for the School District of Clintonville, told those in attendance at the district’s annual budget hearing Monday, Aug. 22 that the budget process for the district is “ongoing.”
He said the process starts every year with the student count on the third Friday of September. This number is used for budgeting purposes. The district is projecting student enrollment to be roughly the same as last year — 1,439 students. This is an increase from 1,391 students in 2014.
The stable enrollment number was described as “not bad” by O’Toole when it comes to budgeting.
O’Toole said indications are the equalized values in the city of Clintonville will be decreasing. When creating the proposed budget, a zero percent increase was used, he said.
The district is proposing a budget of $15.8 million for the general fund (Fund 10), which is an increase over past years.
“Even with a 5.4 percent increase projected for next year, we are not yet spending back to what we were in 2011-12,” O’Toole said. “And if you go back a year further than that, the Fund 10 budget was over $17 million.”
O’Toole said the projected school levy will decrease to $10.52 per $1,000 of equalized value. Last year the school levy was $10.82 per $1,000. The highest it has been in the last five years was $11.74 per $1,000 in 2012-13.
“Our tax levy rate has gone down significantly over the last few years,” O’Toole said.
Items that could still impact the projected budget include the state and federal budgets, health care reform, energy costs and federal regulations.
“Our district’s financial situation improved again this past year,” O’Toole said. “We were able to add to the fund balance which makes our position stronger should we ever enter into a borrowing situation again. It keeps us more solvent. It also keeps us from having to do short-term borrowing.”
In summary, O’Toole said, “I think we have a situation in the Clintonville schools where we offer tremendous opportunities for our students. I think we’re doing it at an affordable cost and we’re not burdening the taxpayers too much.”
During the district’s annual meeting later that night, the proposed budget was approved.
During the district’s annual meeting, Clintonville School Board President Jim Dins addressed those in attendance.
Dins thanked those in attendance, and said the district had a good year, and he hopes for a better year to come.
He said the grade school is happier than he has seen it for awhile, and things are moving smoothly at the middle school.
“Enrollment at the grade school at St. Martin’s is down, which tells me the middle school is back on track again, thanks to you guys,” Dins said. “For awhile there was a waiting list at St. Martin’s for their grade school. That really tells the story that we’re coming back around.”
He added that everything is on track at the high school and things are “steady as a rock” there.
Dins said he feels the district needs to work harder on skilled labor trades with local businesses.
“I don’t think every kid is going to go to college and get a job for what they went to college for,” Dins said.
He said a two-year degree might be better for some students.
“I’m very proud to be on the school board,” Dins said. “We all contribute in different ways. All of us work together.”
He said that he hopes all employees in the district are proud to work for the district. If they are not, they need to talk to the school board.
“We really have to take pride in everything, and right now I think we have a really good prideful staff,” Dins said. “I think they are really proud of what they can do and what they can accomplish.”
Several resolutions were passed during the annual meeting, many relating to the proposed budget.
It was also approved that board members would continue to receive $90 for each regular and special meeting attended, and $50 for each in-service meeting attended. In addition, officers will receive an additional $250 annually and members of the Negotiation Committee will each receive $300 annually. Policy/Personnel Committee and Finance Committee members will receive $20 per meeting, but no more than one paid meeting per month.
Principals from each building in the district also shared the happenings from their building over the past year. Administrators in the district also shared what happened over the last year in their area of responsibility.