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By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Board of Education has set a total property tax levy of $3,019,043 for the 2021-2022 school year, with a mill rate of $8.10.
The mill rate represents a decrease of almost 9 percent, said Nick Kaiser, school district administrator, at the Boyceville school board’s October 27 meeting.
The mill rate of $8.10 in property taxes per $1,000 of property value compares to a mill rate last year of $8.89 per $1,000 of property value.
A rule of thumb is when the equalized value increases, the mill rate decreases.
The equalized value in 2020 of $339,743,671 compares to an equalized value of $372,699,952 for 2021, representing an increase of $32,956,281.
The Boyceville Board of Education voted unanimously to set the Fund 10 levy at $1,764,043; the Fund 38 levy at $46,477; the Fund 39 levy at $1,148,523; and the Fund 80 levy at $60,000, for a a total property tax levy of $3,019,043.
Voting in favor of the motion were Jeremy Mittlestadt, who chaired the October 27 meeting, Amber Carlsrud and Steve Olson.
Absent from the meeting were Tim Sempf, school board president, and Erik Evenson, school board member.
School districts in Wisconsin usually receive the state aid certification on October 15, and school boards have until November 1 to set the property tax levy.
The Boyceville school board also approved the final budget for 2021-2022 at the October 27 meeting.
The general fund budget is listed as total revenue of $10,164,192, and total expenses are listed as $10,449,377.
Fund 21, the activity fund, has revenue and expenses of $94,781.
Fund 27, the special education fund, has revenue and expenses of $1,728,675.
Fund 38, non-referendum debt service, has revenue and expenses of $46,477.
Fund 39, referendum-approved debt, has revenue of $1,148,523 and expenses of $1,154,673. The Fund 39 revenue and expenses are not the same because the budget covers the fiscal year, from July 1 through June 30, but the levy is assessed for the calendar year.
Fund 50, food service, has revenue and expenses of $397,000.
Fund 80, community service, has revenue and expenses of $86,000.
Fall opening plan
The Boyceville school district is considering a third party vendor for COVID-19 testing, Kaiser said.
One particular vendor did not work out for the school district, but perhaps Boyceville can work with other districts on setting up a vendor for testing, he said.
Kaiser told the school board that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the rates of COVID-19.
Dunn County has gone from an average of 30 cases per day down to an average of 15 cases per day, he said, adding that the seven-day trend has gotten better in recent weeks.
The local numbers in the Boyceville school district “are good,” Kaiser said, with two active cases of COVID-19 on the day of the school board meeting.
While the low number of positive cases in the Boyceville school district is good right now, people will be spending more time inside again, he said.
Health experts are concerned that when people start spending more time indoors, the transmission rate of the virus will increase again.
A COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be approved soon for children ages 5 to 11, so “we will see what happens,” Kaiser said.
Carlsrud asked how the contact tracing was going this year.
“Not great,” Kaiser replied.
The contact tracing is organized well but is still a difficult job, said Bonnie Barker, director of special education.
More people are taking
advantage of the testing and coming back on day eight, although some are staying out 10 days and coming back on day 11, Kaiser said.
The school district is keeping students in cohort groups and not mixing groups whenever possible, he said.
The school district has had more experience now with COVID-19 mitigation strategies, and the students are saying it is a better experience this year, Kaiser said.
November is National School Psychology month, and this year’s theme is “Let’s Get in GEAR,” Barker told the school board during her report.
GEAR stands for Grow, Engage, Advocate and Rise and includes strategies on how to improve social-emotional well-being, she said.
Students will be given a coloring sheet with a gear on it that they can decorate, and the students’ creations will be included in displays at Tiffany Creek Elementary, Barker said.
Students also will receive a small touchstone (a colored stone in the shape of a heart) that they can keep and use to help ground themselves, she said.
The mindfulness activity using the stone comes out of the “Joy in Every Moment” by Tzivia Gover, Barker said.
Barker provided the picture of the gear for each school board member and a touchstone and asked school board members to write their names on the gear so that students could color one for each of them.
In other business, the Boyceville Board of Education:
• Learned that of the 716 students in the Boyceville school district, 109 of them have Individualized Education Plans (IEP), or about 15 percent. Barker noted that she is anticipating seven or eight referrals coming in for IEPs.
• Learned from DeeAnn Thompson, principal at TCE, that parents at TCE had virtual, in-person and telephone options for parent-teacher conferences and that 98 percent of parents had reserved a time to speak with their students’ teachers.
• Learned that drop-off/pick-up safety lines had been painted at TCE, safety signs are being ordered to help keep parking lot speed down and traffic safe, that the Gaga Gall pit has been refurbished and the conference room has been updated for physical therapy and counseling services. Several school board members said they were glad to hear the Gaga Ball pit was in good working order since Gaga Ball is hugely popular with the students. The students take turns in the Gaga Ball pit by grade level, and even though they would like more time, they know when it is another grade’s turn that they have to let the next grade in, Barker said. Mittlestadt said he receives daily updates about the latest Gaga Ball pit saga from his children.
• Approved the Start College Now and Early College Credit applications for the 2022 spring semester. All together, nine students have applied for secondary educational opportunities at local universities and technical colleges. Students can take a cumulative total of 18 credits throughout their four years of high school. Boyceville High School is not responsible for any requests or payments of tuition after 18 credits have been accrued by a student.
• Accepted a $1,022 grant from the Ann Marie Foundation to be used for two stand-up desks with stools and three wobble chairs for a third grade classroom.
• Accepted a $2,500 donation from George Christianson from the 2021 Alfalfa Fest proceeds. The money will be used in the Success for Children fund, which provides assistance to any families or children in the school district with needs.
• Accepted a donation of 3D printers and accessories from Marilyn Fanetti to the science department. The donation is valued at $4,800.
• Accepted a Rural Mutual Insurance Company Donor Advised Fund grant of $2,500 for the Boyceville FFA.