School board looks at funding mix to keep rates low

Three members of the FMMS Student Council address the school board Monday night to request a trip to Six Flags at the end of the year. From left to right are Maddie Rashid, Kylee Cashman and Madelyn Swigert. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC.



FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison school district’s finance director is recommending a mix of property tax, income surtax, and additional cash reserve levies to help fund the 2017-18 school year.

FMCSD Director of Finance Sandra Elmore informed the board the district is looking at a $14.45 levy for the next fiscal year. The tax rate is compromised of the current rate of $13.27 plus a 67-cent increase just to maintain the current level of funding. District enrollment has dropped which changes the amount of state aid the school receives, so increasing the rate results in a status quo. The levy will generate roughly $8.44 million for the next fiscal year.

Then the district adds in another .01 increase for an Instructional Support Levy, coupled with a state income surtax, making the rate $13.95. Adding an additional $300,ooo in cash reserve levy pushes the rate to $14.45.

Elmore said that rate would be the rate she publishes as part of the budgeting process prior to the board finalizing the budget. It still needs to be published and certified to the state before it is finalized.

The state reduced its allowable growth for the next year to 1.1% which is below the prior year’s growth formula. That reduction, coupled with the declining enrollment, has resulted in the district looking at alternative means to fund its services and programs into the near future.

School board member Dianne Hope said it was important for the district to be able to articulate the budgeting process to the public.

“We have to be able to feed this through our media so when (the general public) look at this and they see $14.45 you know, this is going to impact our discussions going forward as we pass our bond,” Hope said.

In other action, the board

•voted 5-0 to approve a trip for Claire Hellman to Anaheim, California. Hellman placed second in the state DECA competition for her presentation on Human Resources Management and qualified for the trip. She will make the trip with DECA instructor Liz Weisinger.

•voted 5-0 to approve a trip for two district math instructors to attend a Guided Mathematics seminar in Pittsburgh. Board member Gayla Young requested the district have a way for the teachers to be able to share the information in professional development with the rest of the district math teachers.

•voted 5-0 to approve a $103,000 roof renovation at the Fort Madison High School. The fund will come from the one-cent sales tax option.

•voted 5-0 to approve a trip for the FMMS student council to visit Six Flags in May, an annual trip paid for by fundraising of the student council.

•heard from Richard Hand, the district transportation director who indicated additional transportation costs with a new combined elementary school on the middle school campus would amount to roughly $15,000 per year and provide three additional bus routes to move all the students to the campus. He said with Bluff Road currently closed due to construction, all traffic has been diverted to 48th Street and there have been no problems with that so far.

Claire Hellman addresses the Fort Madison School Board regarding earning a trip to California after taking 2nd place at the Iowa DECA competition earlier this year. The board approved the trip and DECA instructor Liz Weisinger will accompany Hellman on the trip. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC.



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