Re-1J mill levy override extension looks to target additional five years
An extension of five years has been targeted for ballot wording for Holyoke School District Re-1J’s mill levy override question for the Nov. 5 ballot.
Reviewing suggested wording at the Aug. 20 board meeting, Superintendent Kyle Stumpf said he likes the emphasis that this proposal will not create any new tax nor increase any current tax.
If passed, it will extend through 2025 a current 7.0-mill override, which is scheduled to expire after collection year 2020.
A portion of that override (4.5 mills) was approved for 10 years in 2010 and the remaining 2.5 mills was approved for five years in a 2014 mill levy override election that extended an MLO that was to expire in 2015.
Official wording for the ballot question will be approved at the Sept. 3 school board meeting.
Additionally, proposed ballot wording cites that the 7.0 MLO extension will continue to provide funds for, among other things:
— Maintaining existing facilities.
— Purchasing and installing quality instructional and informational technology.
— Maintaining and updating quality instructional supplies and materials.
— Upgrading the district’s aging transportation fleet.
— Attracting and retaining qualified teachers and staff, including safety, security and mental health personnel.
Good news reported in fourth-quarter financials
Director of Finance Ben Rahe had a favorable report for the fourth quarter of the 2019 fiscal year. Emphasizing that the numbers are unaudited, he said it looks like the reserve will increase, and the total reserve should be over $1.3 million.
The unaudited figures note final revenue at just over $6.8 million, which is $112,000 over projected numbers.
Final expenditures show a large decrease overall from the previous year and just under $250,000 from the current year projections, according to Rahe.
He pointed out that the district benefited from having fewer employees as they filled some positions in-house instead of rehiring. They also went from two full-time maintenance/grounds positions to one full-time with some part-time help.
16 nonresident students approved for 2019-20
Sixteen students from four neighboring school districts were approved for admission for the current school year.
They include Emma, Chloe and Montana Benson, Aliyah, Destanie and Scottlyn Engle, and Danielle Wilkening from Haxtun School District; Riley and Wyatt Klinzmann, JaRae Sholes, Miguel Roberto Vazquez, and Oliver and Leonardo Ballesteros from Wray; Mikayla and Abby Davidson from Perkins County, Nebraska; and Dallas Werner from Chase County, Nebraska.
All except Werner requested transportation, which was also approved.
Out-of-district student sports participation fees discussed
Athletic director John Baumgartner shared information he gathered from a couple of area districts regarding participation fees charged for out-of-district students when their school does not offer a particular sport.
The question arose at the Aug. 9 board meeting when the activities/athletic handbooks were approved.
While he didn’t hear back from several schools, Baumgartner said that Caliche and Yuma both charge a higher rate for out-of-district students who compete on the sports teams because their districts don’t offer the sport.
Currently, there are only three out-of-district students participating in HHS fall sports. All are on the girls softball team. Holyoke charges the same participation fee to out-of-district students and those in the district.
All out-of-district students follow the Holyoke player contracts and eligibility guidelines, and they are required to be in the random drug testing pool.
Stumpf noted that if there is consideration for a fee change, the board can review it for the upcoming winter sports season or make a change starting with the 2020-21 school year.
Investment grade audit proposed for school district
With a focus on energy savings, Will Benish, Colorado program manager for Schneider Electric, discussed the potential for developing an investment grade audit for the district.
At a work session following last week’s regular meeting, Benish gave a detailed report on the district’s partnership with Schneider Electric since January.
He noted they are an energy services company focused on creating capital recovery and reinvestment programs for Colorado school districts.
Benish made several visits to the district earlier this year, and Schneider Electric completed a business case analysis to look at the facilities and utility bills to identify opportunities and estimated impact.
Last week he shared information on cost savings potential and the scope of work. The next step would be to develop an investment grade audit to finalize savings, price, scope of work and funding methods.
Benish shared that there is real potential for energy savings in the district and that it feels like this is a good time to move forward.
He highlighted extensive ballpark figures for projected cashflow and project savings over the next 20 years and detailed the costs involved.
He noted that if the district goes for Building Excellent Schools Today funding early in 2020, it will be advantageous to have taken the initiative for an investment grade audit. Benish is hopeful that the district will choose Schneider Electric for this partnership.
In other business at the Aug. 20 meeting, the Re-1J board:
— Hired Sharlene Benson as a high school paraprofessional and Erin Lindholm as an elementary school paraprofessional for 2019-20.
— Made two additions to the extra-duty assignments list: Sally O’Keef as assistant JH volleyball coach at a stipend of $1,241 and Aaron Sprague as a volunteer HS football coach.
— Accepted foreign exchange student Ran Daikoka for the 2019-20 school year.
— Gave first-reading approval for Colorado Association of School Boards policies that were presented Aug. 9 on the subjects of maternity/paternity/parental leave, staff leave, sick leave bank, and support staff vacations and holidays.
— Reviewed CASB policies that will be on the Sept. 3 agenda for first reading, including walkers and riders, professional staff recruiting/hiring, support staff recruiting/hiring and immunization of students.