August 15, 2013

School Board Approves Six-Cent Tax Levy Hike for 2013

A six-cent increase for the Scotland County R-I School District was approved prior to the start of the August 8th Board of Education meeting.

The annual tax rate hearing was held at 6:15 p.m. to allow area residents an opportunity to address the district levy proposal.

The board approved the proposed levy rate of $3.36 per $100 of assessed valuation. That marks an increase of more than six cents from the 2012 levy rate of $3.2984.

"The state performance levy is at 3.43 so our tax rate falls below the suggested performance levy and well below the voter approved levy of 3.69," said Superintendent Ryan Bergeson.

The new levy is expected to generate approximately $1,820,000 in local tax revenue for the district, or approximately $200,000 more than was projected in 2012. A portion of the revenue increase can be attributed to a slight increase in assessed valuation in the county. The district can now call upon $54,168,720 in total assessed property value in its service area. That is up more than $1 million from last year's total of $53,035,627.

The approved levy rate still remains far below the tax ceiling of $3.6385 and compares favorably to other area districts' levies. New rates are not yet available, but during the 2012-13 school year the adjusted tax levy rates for adjacent districts were comparable to SCR-I's new rate of $3.36. Knox County's levy was $3.6045, while Clark County was at $3.50 and Schuyler County was at $3.43. Putnam County's levy was $3.3298 and Kirksville was at $3.3038.

The SCR-I district closed out the 2012-2103 fiscal year with a deficit figure of more than $300,000 for the past budget year.

Bergeson noted that the total deficit of $304,536 was well below the anticipated $478,000 level approved in the projected budget prior to the start of last year.

With the increased revenue from the new levy rate and higher assessed valuation, Bergeson indicated the district is projecting a deficit budget of approximately $80,000 but added a lot of the future financial projections hinge on controversial House Bill 253, which was vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon but is subject of a push to override the top executive's denial.

The SCR-I Board of Education adopted an official resolution on House Bill 253. The Resolution passed 6-1. Randy Tobler voted no.

In other business, the board workshop report was presented.

"We addressed many short term and long term goals for our district," Bergeson stated. "We will ask George K. Baum and/or Greg Bricker to attend our board meeting in September to discuss the possibilities of a bond issue to address our need for an Early Childhood Center."

Career Ladder

The board voted 7-0 to approve the updated district's Career Ladder Plan for the 2013-2014 school year.

"The State no longer supports Career Ladder," Bergeson stated. "However the Scotland County School Board graciously has continued the commitment to the Career Ladder program which makes a significant impact on our students each year."

MSIP 5

The Preliminary MSIP 5 report became available on Monday, August 5. MSIP 5 is a scoring guide based on the performance of the district in the areas of Academic Achievement, Subgroup Achievement, College and Career Readiness, Attendance Rate, and Graduation Rate.

"We were proud to report that the Scotland County R-1 School District received 91.1% of the overall points," said Bergeson. "If we continue sustained success, we will be honored with Distinct in Performance at the end of the 3 year data cycle."

Athletic Handbook

The Scotland County School Board voted 6-0-1 to adopt the Scotland County Athletic Handbook. Matt McKee abstained.

District Website

The board voted 7-0 to have Cyber School host the new district website. The startup cost of the new website is $1,750 and there is an annual cost of $900.

Rotary Club

The board voted 7-0 to pay for the district administrator's membership to Rotary Club. Rotary Club membership is a yearly cost of $120.

School Sign

The board established a committee to raise funds to replace the district sign that was damaged in a storm five years ago. Matt McKee and the administrative team were placed on the committee.

Executive Session

The board voted 7-0 to offer employment to the following non-certified employees for the 2013-14 school year: Janie Parton-PAT, Stephanie Shalley-PAT, Troy Carper-Custodian, Mike Gundy-Custodian, Shellie Jackson-Custodian, Brian Lewis-Custodian.

The board voted 7-0 to offer a contract to Jason Bradley for Junior High Social Studies, Assistant Boys Basketball, and Assistant Baseball.

The board voted 7-0 to offer Brian Kraus employment as a bus driver.

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