Central Lee to build new district offices

SAVE funds to be used to pay for estimated $1.4 million project


DONNELLSON – The Central Lee Community School District is sticking to its commitment of staying below a $12 property tax levy, but residents will see a slight uptick this year.
At the district’s regular meeting Tuesday morning, Superintendent Dr. Andy Crozier presented a property tax worksheet that has the proposed property tax levy at $11.23 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
That number compares to previous the fiscal year number of $10.73. Crozier said the difference in the two is an increase in the district’s management fund, which hasn’t received funding since the district’s general obligation bond was passed five years ago.
“The main reason for this increase is the management fund. The district has not levied anything from the management fund for five years. When we passed our GO bond, we told our stakeholders that we would zero out that fund for five years as a means of property tax relief,” Crozier said.
He said the management fund pays the district’s liability insurance so it’s rare that school districts can go more than a year without levying dollars to pay those costs.
He told the board that there looks to be a small increase in state supplemental aid which will help pay for increases in staffing and other expenditures.
The property tax rate isn’t finalized, but typically at this point, the numbers are fairly close to what is submitted to the county and state.
Crozier also updated the board on some building projects that are moving forward.
The district is planning to renovate the biology and chemistry/physics classrooms to create a separate lab space and classroom space.
“Our science department has had phenomenal success over the past several years and this space will allow them to maximize their potential going forward,” he said.
The total cost of that renovation was listed at $521,000.
The district is also moving away from a 45-year old district office that was built in the 80s out of three mobile units that were being used as classrooms in Argyle.
“I can’t confirm it, but I think those buildings are more than 45 years old, and the lifespan of mobile classrooms is normally 25-30 years. We won't get 20 more years out of that building."
The new district office will be bigger to allow additional staff in the building. Kris Brewer, Director of Technology, and Angie Fransk, Director of Curriculum, will move into the administration office. The new structure will provide separate office space for Sandy Meierotto, the school business official. The move also opens up one more classroom at the high school and two small rooms at the PreK. The project will cost $1.4 million but will be paid for out the district’s one-cent SAVE funds so no bonding will be required and the cost won’t be reflected in debt service.
“The district is paying for both of these projects with its sales tax fund and will not be bonding for these projects. This is important because it doesn’t add to our debt service nor does it hinder us from tackling other big projects in the future.”
Crozier said the district is also committed to continue planning for an expansion of the K-8 building and that work has begun.
“During Spring Break, Estes Construction will be on-site to complete planning work. This work will be the foundation for the district to move conversations forward with staff and stakeholders about the best option for an expansion at the K-8,” Crozier said.
“We are still evaluating the trend in enrollment in our K-8. If the trends continue of 100+ students per class over the next two years, we will have to consider an expansion. If trends revert to 95 students per class, then an addition may not be as high of a priority in the near future.”

Donnellson, Central Lee, finances, building projects, tax levy, property tax levy, Pen City Current, Andy Crozier, board of directors, news, schools, education,


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