School Board Discusses Budget For Next School Year

School BoardBy Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News

Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Wednesday night,  the Oskaloosa School Board discussed next year’s budget, and the establishment of board goals. Board Treasurer Chad Vink gave the board a 50-minute presentation outlining the proposed budget for next year.

Vink said ‘headcount’ enrollment increased by 35.1 students, which is a 1.5 percent increase compared to fiscal year 2014. That’s an important figure because more students means more funding for the district.

For every student, the district will receive $6,366 in funding. That figure is up from $6,121 in FY 2014. This means the district will receive approximately $808,507 in additional allowable growth funding for next fiscal year. Allowable growth, now known as Supplemental State Aid, is the amount of funding schools receive from the state.

“This is one of the rare cases where we’ve had an increase,” Vink said.

Vink also said the board is proposing a tax levy of $14.98 per $1,000 of assessed taxable value. That’s a 32-cent decrease from FY 2014. For property owners, that means the school tax levied on properties will decrease about $17.40 for a home worth $100,000.

The board expects to publish the budget by late March. Then the board has to approve the budget before April 15, which is the state deadline.

In addition to that, the board discussed establishing board goals. President Carl Drost said he hopes the goals can be finalized by May. Board Member Neal Hadden said there needs to be defined student achievement goals because the district has to improve.

Board Member Tom Richardson said the board has to be realistic in how it measures its goals. Drost chimed in.

“We want something that’s obtainable,” Drost said.

The board will continue to define its goals, and will specifically address student achievement.

In other agenda items, the board unanimously approved the addition of two math courses to the high school curriculum. One of the courses will be “general” math, and it will be designed for students who need extra help. The other course will be an applied math course that gives students an “in-between” option. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Mary Cooksley said students often struggle to make the jump from Algebra I to Algebra II.

Lastly, the board went into closed session and discussed the sale of a property, and Superintendent Russ Reiter’s evaluation.

The next school board meeting is on March 11 at 7 p.m.

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