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GCSD’s mil rate set to drop significantly in 2021-2022

GLENWOOD CITY — The mil rate for the School District of Glenwood City has been trending downwards ever so slightly since the 2016-17 school year.

But, the 2021-22 projected mil rate is set to make a significant decrease.

During the district’s annual meeting held Monday evening, August 16 in the high school commons area, the nearly 20 residents in attendance, which included the full seven-member board of education, approved a proposed local tax levy of $2,456,078 to support the proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year.

That figure represents a $379,358 decrease from last year’s local levy of $2,835,436. That will drop the mil rate by $1.27, from 9.49 in 2020-21 to 8.22 for the upcoming academic year.

The mil rate is amount that property owner pays on each $1,000 of equalized value. So, with a proposed mil rate of 8.22, taxpayers can expected to ante up $8.22 per $1,000 of equalized valuation.

Of course, the district expects the equalized valuation of properties within its borders to increase once again this year.

Equalized valuations in the district have climbed by about $20 million per year over the last three years with the 2020 figure coming in at $298,890,959.

The $2,456,078 is the amount local taxpayers will be dishing out to support the school district’s educational mission while the remainder of the $9,306,288 approved budget for 2021-2022 will come from state funding sources.

District administrator Tim Johnson went over the 2021-2022 proposed budget in detail during the budget hearing which was held just prior to the annual meeting.

During that hearing, Johnson outlined and explained the various funds, from the general fund to special education, long-term capital funds, food service, scholarship and community education, that the district draws from each year to cover operational expenses. Those expenses are balanced by the revenues that the Glenwood City School District collects from local and state sources.

Johnson told those in attendance that 85 percent of the district’s expenses are people – teaching and support staff.

Declining in-district student enrollment has also had an effect on how the district collects its revenues each year. As the full-time equivalent (FTE) count, which is officially taken the third Friday each September, decreases so does the amount of state aid the district receives thereby placing a larger financial burden on the local taxpayers to make up the difference.

Since student enrollment district-wide peaked at 748 in 2014, it has steadily declined the past seven years to account of 660 for 2020-21.

Sparsity aid, which pays up to $400 per pupil, has filled the funding gap for more rural districts such as Glenwood City.

The district also qualifies for a declining enrollment exemption which takes a snap shot of the district’s three-year average of enrollment and assigned a dollar value to the exception which may help the district pocket another $150,000.

In the final portion of the annual meeting, those in attendance approved the items on the consent agenda, which included setting board member salaries at $2,300 per year for officers and $2,000 for regular members along with a $50 per member stipend for special meetings and a per diem of $50 per day when traveling away from the district; setting next year’s annual meeting and budget hearing for August 15, 2022; and the authority to deal with busing routes; and heard this past year’s accomplishments and future goals from superintendent Johnson, principal Betsy Haltinner and new Director of Pupil Services and Special Education Dr. Robert Vanderloop.

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