The United South Central School District held its Truth in Taxation meeting on Tuesday, December 21.
Before voting to set the levy, USC Director of Finance Stacie Whiteside gave a brief overview of the district’s budget and various factors that will affect the levy.
“I want to remind everyone that the revenue formulas are set by the state legislature, with the exception of referendums approved by voters,” she shared. “Local levies and the state aid mix are set by the state legislature. In addition, an increase in local taxes does not necessarily mean an increase in revenue for the school district. “
Whiteside also pointed to a change in the amount of federal aid the district had received.
“Federal aid generally represents less than five percent of our income”, she explained. “He’s almost doubled this year.
Following Whiteside’s presentation, the members of the board of directors passed a resolution certifying the 2021 tax levy, to be collected in 2022, at $ 3,538,977, or $ 133,268 less than the levy of the last year of $ 3,672,245.
The tax truth meeting followed a special meeting to review a school district audit.
“It was an unequivocal audit” Greg Lawson of Austin’s Feldmann & Company said.
When examining the financial numbers, this was a different set of numbers Lawson pointed out as being positive for the school district.
“You stuck with your registration numbers”, Lawson commented. “You did better in this area than most other districts in Minnesota. “
The board approved the audit report.
During the regular meeting, elementary principal Jennifer Taylor said enrollment in K-6 grades was 360 in 18 sections, while high school principal Julie Stauber said that enrollment in grades 7-12 stood at 321, a decline of three students from last month.
“We hope that the secondary student council will be operational by the end of the semester”, Ethan Koehler, student representative to the USC school board, said. “I would also like to congratulate the FFA for its performance in the regional competition and for its fruit sales which totaled $ 36,000. “
Superintendent Keith Fleming spoke about federal mandates for vaccines, testing and masking.
“We will have to see if the Supreme Court pronounces a suspension”, Fleming noted. “Otherwise, we’ll have to prepare for weekly testing for unvaccinated employees. The district is expected to compile a list of vaccinated and unvaccinated workers by January 10. We applied for a grant to help pay for the tests.
The remuneration of substitute teachers was also on the agenda.
“Our daily rate is currently $ 120” Fleming commented. “I think we need to increase it to at least $ 135.”
Some board members questioned whether this increase was significant enough.
“I think we must be at $ 150” said board member Jon Feist.
Board member Tom Legred supported Feist’s opinion.
“I agree with Jon. We don’t want to lose our subscribers”, said Legred. “I don’t think an inflationary correction is enough.”
The board passed a motion setting the daily rate of pay for occasional teachers at $ 150 as of January 1, 2022, with the stipulation to assess the situation at a later date.
During the meeting, the board also:
• Approval of the ratification of the Framework Agreement for Education Support Professionals (ESP).
• Passed a resolution establishing combined polling stations for multiple constituencies and designating the hours during which the ballot will remain open for voting for school district elections that do not take place on the day of a school-wide election. the state.
• Voted to renew the district contract with Teachers on Call.
• Accepted the resignation of paraprofessional Jayne Meyer and approved the maternity leave of elementary school teacher Mikayla Wegner.
• Approved contracts for Preschool Paraprofessional Megan Ehlert, Grade 4 Teacher Alissa Norman and ELL Success Coach Lucila Reyes.
• Voted to accept the bid in the amount of $ 6,500 for the purchase of a new pressure washer for the bus garage to replace the current one which is 25 years old.
• Approval of a quote for the purchase and installation of two Bluetooth controllers for sound systems in gymnasiums in the amount of $ 1,605, from Video Services Incorporated of Mankato. The purpose of controllers is to limit access to public address systems.
• Voted to purchase a new eight channel amplifier and speakers for the high school gymnasium from Video Services in the amount of $ 6,812.