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School Board Previews 2009-10 Budget

By Staff | Feb 24, 2009

The 2009-2010 budget was among the items discussed during the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education meeting on Feb. 16.

“This has been an interesting budget year,” began Superintendent John Joynt. “We set our budget last year and we dropped our tax asking $1 per $1,000. We were excited about that, and thought we had enough cash to run all of our finances the most effective way.”

Joynt explained that, since that time, two situations occurred which have caused the board and administration to reflect on their decision to lower the tax asking. First, Wild Rose Casino was successful in winning their appeal and, as a result, the school district did receive approximately $50,000 in tax money that they had planned on. Second, Iowa Governor Chet Culver has also made an across-the-board 1.5 percent cut, which takes away $43,000 from the district’s budget.

“In retrospect, it doesn’t look like a good idea to let that dollar of tax asking remain the same for this year,” said Joynt. “We should have had that in cash reserve, but again, we thought we had enough cash. Now, it looks like we’ll have to borrow a bit to get through, but that’s not all terrible.”

He noted that many schools borrow money until the fall and the spring when property taxes are collected.

“Basically, we’re going to need that $1 in tax asking back that we gave up last year in order to make things work out,” Joynt said. “And we may need to ask for a little more to fund next year’s program more efficiently.”

Joynt added that the State Legislature had promised four percent allowable growth last year, which the district was going to build their budget around. However, the State is now considering that four percent may be too much.

“So, we really can’t formulate a budget until the legislature sets that number,” said Joynt.

“When’s the budget due?” asked board member Steve Pelzer.

“The budget’s due April 15,” Joynt answered. “Although the State might not be done by then.”

Joynt added that the upcoming school year will bring in 43 new students, which will help by boosting the district’s budget a little.

“I also understand that the county is not going to raise their tax levy and that the city might reduce theirs a little bit,” said Joynt. “I was concerned about hitting our taxpayers all at once, but the city and county seem to be holding the line, kind of like we did last year. So, there shouldn’t be a huge jump in taxes.”

In other business, the board approved the resignation of Joan Barber as seventh grade volleyball coach. Greg Sween was approved for the middle school track position, and Kate Schiek was approved for the elementary/middle school guidance position.

Per board approval, Tyler Beving and Mike Dunlap will split high school PE duties in the morning. In the afternoon, Dunlap will teach middle school PE and Beving will teach elementary PE.

Also, Erin Siefken, high school language arts and middle school computer instructor, will replace the computer class with middle school TAG (Talented and Gifted). Kim Traub, high school Spanish instructor shared with Ruthven-Ayrshire High School, will replace teaching Spanish at Ruthven-Ayrshire with teaching middle school computer.

Joynt noted that there had been one in-house applicant for the special education opening, however the applicant did not currently have the proper Strategist II endorsement. The district will advertise for a Strategist II and consider the in-house applicant.