|School assessed valuation up $3 million; mill levy set|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Holyoke School District is looking at a $3.25 million increase in assessed valuation from a year ago.
With that in mind, the Re-1J Board of Education certified the district’s 2011 mill levy at 38.771 mills at the Dec. 6 board meeting.
This includes 27 mills for the general fund, 7.5 mills in the voter-approved override, abatement at .021 mills and bond redemption fund at 4.25 mills.
The assessed valuation is $47,817,540, up $3,251,110 from the 2010 tax year valuation.
The increase in assessed valuation will represent a sizable increase in actual dollars received by the district. Supt. Bret Miles said the 7.5 mill levy override will generate approximately $47,000 more this year than it did last year.
Scott Szabo of Lauer, Szabo & Associates presented the 2010-11 audit report at last week’s board meeting. It will be on the Dec. 20 meeting agenda for approval.
In making recommendations for the final budget, Supt. Miles noted the district is in the position to approve a budget with an increase in revenue over the preliminary of $160,406. This is due to the increased pupil count.
With the certification of the mill levy, the Colorado Dept. of Education can run the district’s final program funding numbers which may adjust slightly prior to the final budget approval next week.
Miles recommends the district continue to allocate $133,333 of revenue from the reserve as originally planned. He noted there is also $186,493 allocated from the reserve for the capital construction projects which was a carryover from last year’s budget.
Due to cuts in recent years, additional responsibilities on employees and the potential loss of supplies or programs, Miles recommends the district utilize this opportunity from the additional pupil count funding in this budget year.
Pupil count increase represents a majority of the $160,406 revenue increase. Miles recommends allocating moneys for what he identified as non-discretionary spending, tier 1 priorities, tier 2 priorities and a contingency reserve.
Non-discretionary spending includes $45,344 for salary adjustments with new personnel, increased PERA costs for contribution on substitute teachers, worker’s comp increase, an additional one-on-one aide at the start of the year and another aide for a new student starting this month.
Tier 1 priorities amount to $38,300 and include an additional paraprofessional at the elementary, holiday bonus for staff, increase to after school center budget for additional staff and incentives for students who don’t go, custodial supplies, professional development cost overrun, elementary supplies and website work.
Tier 2 priorities amount to $11,500 for swimming lessons, summer professional development on technology and special assembly programs for students.
With many possibilities for spending in this fiscal year, Miles recommends keeping $65,262 in a contingency reserve. It will be spent on priorities that evolve throughout the year, but it’s Miles’ intent that every dollar of the contingency will be spent before June 30, 2012.
Some of the contingency reserve spending possibilities include capital projects such as carpet and concrete, textbooks, other personnel costs, summer school for elementary students, CDE pupil count audit adjustment or other district priorities.
Board members asked about the impact of having only one secretary in each office. Both principals indicated there are times they could use additional help, but there’s not enough work to keep two busy all the time.
Board members agreed it would be a good survey question to ask patrons if they feel the impact of less office help. Kim Killin emphasized they don’t want to wear out staff and lose people who are doing a good job.
Supt. Miles pointed out it will take longer to assess the impact because of the additional time required for use of the new Infinite Campus system at the same time staff was reduced.
Kim Young shared details of a storm route plan for buses which she compiled in case of inclement weather. The five route buses will be going in five different directions, with riders to meet them at designated locations.
Young emphasized the storm routes will be utilized when certain county roads are bad, but weather conditions are good enough for school to be held.
Supt. Miles said with fewer students in the country, it is felt there needs to be an alternative to calling off school just because less then 25 percent of the student body needs bus service.
Young emphasized communication will be a key part of this. She visited with both Yuma and Wray school districts for how they handle storm routes and also talked with the Colorado Dept. of Transportation.
Board members were introduced to a number of Section G personnel policies, as presented by Supt. Miles.
Details of a proposed bereavement leave policy were reviewed. The proposal designates 15 days of paid bereavement leave in case of the death of an employee’s parent, spouse or child.
Five days per year of bereavement leave will be granted in case of the death of an employee’s family member including sister, brother, grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin or in-laws.
Another Section G policy proposal addresses first aid training. It says every staff member will hold a current standard first aid card, including CPR training. The cost for the training will be incurred by the district.
Supt. Miles said it’s the intent to designate one day for training every other year.
Grading pilot update
Details from November for the district’s grading pilot program were presented by Miles.
The update indicated more students are staying for the entire 75-minute sessions at the after school center (ASC), and there’s increased usage of the ASC by grade 7-12 elective teachers.
Elementary English as a Second Language students are overrepresented in the ASC, so the district will be watching those numbers, said Miles.
With the start of winter sports, the eligibility report notes a decline in number of ineligible students, which was not seen a year ago.
Supt. Miles noted JR/SR High principal Susan Ortner will meet with each student on the 7-12 ineligible list to make sure they understand the timelines to turn in missing assignments in order to get credit.
Ortner acknowledged talking with 10 students is far more manageable than the 74 students who were ineligible at this same time a year ago.
Other highlights on the grading pilot update note there are more 7-12 discipline issues. Additionally, more personnel is needed and has been temporarily added at the elementary school.
In other business Dec. 6, the Re-1J board:
—hired Lori Thompson for the JR/SR high secretary position for the 2011-12 school year.
—approved Kelsey Reimink as JH boys’ basketball assistant coach and Ben Rahe as HS boys’ basketball volunteer assistant coach for 2011-12.
—heard a suggestion from board member Jon King to start all school-year board meetings at 7 p.m. It will be put on the January board retreat agenda for discussion.
Holyoke Enterprise December 15, 2011