Poolville ISD

Poolville ISD board of trustees proposed a decreased tax rate on Thursday evening at their regular meeting in the District PD Lab in the elementary building.

The final tax rate and budget are scheduled to be adopted on Aug. 29. A public hearing on the proposed tax rate and budget will also take place at that meeting.

The proposed rate is $1.23060 per $100 valuation, which is about 11.5 cents lower than last year’s rate, Superintendent Jeff Kirby said.

“It’s going to balance out for us because if property values would have stayed the same and the tax rate drops, it’s good for the homeowner because they pay less taxes, but it’s bad for the school district because we get less local revenue coming in,” Kirby said. “Since our property values went up and our tax rate went down, it’s going to kind of balance out.”

For a home valued at $100,000, the homeowner would save about $106 on their yearly taxes, according to board documents.

Both the maintenance and operations and the interest and sinking tax rates are expected to decrease, Board President Lynn Duvall said.

“We’re getting closer to the end of bond payments, of the bond, so interest is going down so we’re just paying more toward principal,” Duvall said. “That’s kind of what’s making it go down.”

The board had a budget workshop at the meeting as well. Kirby said total revenue is expected to be a little less than $8 million while total expenditures are coming in at about $7.65 million.

House Bill 3, the state’s new school finance reform law, is giving extra funding to school districts and lowering taxpayer burden. Upon refiguring how much Poolville ISD would get from the state, Kirby said he found out that the district would receive more than expected.

“Anytime you get surprised with more than you thought you were going to get, that’s a good way to start the year,” Kirby said.

Kirby said the district plans to save about $350,000 as a sustainability fund, particularly for the state-mandated salary raises.

“They’re supposed to last two years,” Kirby said. “In the next biennium, we’ll have another legislative session and who knows what will happen then. That’s one of the reasons why we want to set that money aside because if it changes in the next biennium, we can’t take money away from our teachers so we have to have a sustainability fund and extra money to help fund those raises for the next biennium.”

Also in the budget is some money for a new bus or two, depending on if the district receives grant funding, Kirby said.

The 2019-20 budget also accounts for about $12,000 to pay for student-athletes’ meals during games in which students have to travel, Kirby said. This accounts for all sports and for both junior high and high school students.

“When our kids represent our school and our community, one of the best ways we can reward them for that is to at least feed them,” Kirby said. “A lot of kids can’t afford eating out every road game, and some kids don’t have that luxury so we feel kind of like that’s the least that we can do.”

The board also approved increasing salaries for paraprofessionals and auxiliary staff. Because the district is receiving more than expected from the state, more money had to be spent on salaries to be in compliance with state law, Kirby said. The extra money for these salaries amounts to about $2,500 for the six staff members that the raise applies to.

Trustees approved hiring a kindergarten teacher, Kirby said.

“We’re expecting anywhere from 36 to 41 kindergarteners,” Kirby said. “Me and our principal want to keep our kindergarten classes to 10-12 so the kids have more one-on-one time with their teacher.”

Poolville ISD board regular meetings usually take place every second Thursday of the month.