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GLENWOOD CITY — For the fifth time in six years, the mill rate for the School District of Glenwood City will decrease.
The 2022-23 projected mill rate is set to decrease by nearly 40 cents from the previous year’s rate.
During the district’s budget hearing and annual meeting held Monday evening, August 15 in the board room, about 15 residents in attendance, which included the full seven-member board of education, approved a proposed local tax levy of $2,472,354 to support the proposed budget for the 2022-23 school year.
That figure represents a $126,609 decrease from last year’s local levy of $2,598,963. That will drop the mill rate by 39 cents, from 8.01 in 2021-22 to a project rate of 7.62 for the upcoming academic year.
The mill rate is amount that property owners pay on each $1,000 of equalized value. So, with a proposed mil rate of 7.62, taxpayers can expected to ante up $7.62 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 2021 figure coming in at $324,527,781 or an increase of nearly $26 million more than the previous year.
The projected $2,472,354 is the amount local taxpayers will be dishing out to support the school district’s educational mission while the remainder of the $9,261,289 budget approved at the annual meeting for 2022-2023 will come from state funding sources.
District administrator Tim Johnson went over the 2022-2023 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 eight years to account of 650 for 2021-21.
Currently, Glenwood City has 115 students that open enroll out of the district with about 60 open enrolling into the district. That disparity costs the district around $550,000 as it has to pay other school districts for the students that have open enrolled.
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 $90,000.
In the final portion of the annual meeting, those in attendance approved the items on the consent agenda, which included increasing board member salaries at $2,500 per year for officers and $2,200 for regular members along with a $75 per member stipend for special meetings and a per diem of $75 per day when traveling away from the district; setting next year’s annual meeting and budget hearing for August 21, 2023; and the authority to deal with busing routes; and heard this past year’s accomplishments and future goals from superintendent Johnson (about special education), and principals Betsy Haltinner (elementary) and Marcy Burch (high school and middle school).
Prior to the budget hearing, the board of education conducted a brief business meeting where it handled a couple of personnel issues and approved the purchase of black netting and fencing for the backstop between the dugouts at the baseball field which is currently being reconstructed.
Cheryl Standaert was approved as a full-time paraprofessional and Preston Shelton was hired as a new elementary teacher. Members also approved Jake Score for 15 percent as athletic director and Christa Edin for nine percent as a sub caller.
Superintendent Johnson told the board that he had been able to renegotiate the addition of the black netting and fencing to an additional $10,000 to $12,000 from the original bid of $25,000 by reducing modifications, new paneling and installation of the current backstop.
Johnson did inform members that due to a recent litigation (someone was injured and has sued) in a neighboring district that had the combination of black netting and three-foot fencing the company that will be installing the new fence and netting recommended that the minimum height of fencing on the backstop should be at least six feet high. The board approved the upgrade to black netting with the six-foot fence height.
Johnson also informed the board that the netting will need to be taken down at the conclusion of each season and stored and will also need to be replaced approximately every decade at an additional cost of a couple of thousand dollars.