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School budget hearing set for April 8

March 25, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

The North Tama school board will hold a hearing for the proposed 2019-20 Fiscal Year budget on Monday, April 8 at 7 p.m. in the ICN room as the district issues a budget similar to last year's.

During the board's monthly meeting on Monday, March 18, North Tama Superintendent David Hill presented the proposed budget, recommending a tax rate of 10.23 per $1,000 taxable valuations. The district will continue to keep the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) at 33 cents and maintain the maximum on their Instructional Support Levy like a vast majority of schools in Iowa currently do. According to Hill, North Tama's tax rate is the lowest among 48 school districts within Tama and surrounding counties. In FY 2019, the rate was almost identical at 10.22, though up from FY 2016 at 9.10.

"I believe North Tama has a record of being fiscally responsible with the taxpayer's dollars we are entrusted with and this coming year will be no exception," Hill said. "We are able to provide a high-quality product in terms of education and do it for a reasonable tax. That's a tradition we want to continue with this budget."

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One area that will see a noticeable decrease is in the district's management levy, used for paying insurance and early retirement plans. $350,000 was levied in 2018-19 and $295,000 is the proposed levy for this upcoming fiscal year.

"It's about a 13 cent difference because of that, but we're generating more through the state formula because we have an increased enrollment," Hill said. "Supplemental state aid increased to stay the tax rate at where it was last year."

Hill will be presenting the budget at the public hearing on April 8 before the board approves or disapproves of the budget, though the board gave no indication of issues with the budget that is published in this current issue of the Traer Star-Clipper.

In other news, Hill and the board discussed a utilities project required to make the south elementary entrance handicap accessible. Originally, the board approved the project for last summer before it became clear that a water main line and natural gas line would need to be moved to accommodate the project.

"We would need to relocate the water line because of the level of excavating which will need to happen for this project," Hill said. "The main is original to the building and has been broken in and repaired many times over the years. We need to do a complete replacement of that line, so we can have a reliable source of water for many years to come."

The original bids from Petersen Concrete of Dysart and Hatch Grading as a subcontractor were competitive at $51,193, but the utility costs were unexpected and Hill believes them higher than expected. Bidding for the accessibility project will not change, but the additional cost does pose a new challenge for the district.

"It unfortunate to have those additional costs, but absolutely necessary if we want to do this project," Hill said. "We are still getting quotes from the water line and the natural gas line from Alliant."

North Tama will use exiting PPEL and SAVE money for the entire project, yet could delay other summer projects for 2019. Hill feels projects such as sanding and repainting the gym floor, carpeting in several rooms of the elementary, floor tiles outside of the FCS room, electrostatic painting of lockers on the secondary floors, painting the hallways in the secondary and door repairs will all commence over the summer regardless. The district will also look at stair treds for the secondary floors in the near future.

Check back with the Traer Star-Clipper for updates from the April 8 board meeting.



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