December 21, the Kingsland School Board held their annual “Truth in Taxation” public hearing, immediately followed by the regular board meeting. All board members were in attendance (via Zoom meeting), including Jackie Horsman, Noella Lund, Tiffany Mundfrom, Maranda Emig, Natasha Howard and Kyle Rader. Also in attendance were Superintendent Jim Hecimovich, Principal Scott Klavetter, Athletic Director Mark Fitzpatrick, and Business Manager Amber Herbrand. Board member-elect Gwen Howard also was in attendance.
No members of the general public attended to ask questions regarding the Truth in Taxation information shared. But Business Manager Amber Herbrand gave a brief presentation to the board regarding how the taxpayer levy is set and what it entails. The Powerpoint presentation included slides showing a comparison of the actual numbers from budget year 2019-2020 and the budgeted numbers for fiscal year 2020-2021.
Herbrand explained how the 2021 school taxes received by Kingsland will be spent, with 55.57% going to Debt Service, 41.55% to the General Fund, and 2.88% going to the Community Education Fund. Of the General Fund, 56.4% is expected to go toward salary and wages, 14.5% to employee benefits, and 14.9% to purchased services.
Herbrand shared slides explaining “What are the main variables that cause property tax increases and decreases?” The slide showed that changes in market values, changes in property tax credits, voter approved referendums, and changes in state funding formulas are the main causes of tax changes to property owners. The total proposed levy was $2,560,330.80. During the regular board meeting, the board certified this as the final levy amount.
Staffing changes approved by the board included hiring Danielle Wilcox as high school SPED paraprofessional, resignations of Gina Knutson (SACC assistant) and Tiffany Mundfrom (board member), medical leave for Ron Neis, and a lane change for Kristine Swier.
The board discussed Kingsland’s guidelines regarding athletic practices, and specifically how late those can be in the evening. Because of a shortage of gym space, Athletics and Activities Director Mark Fitzpatrick explained the practice schedule he is working to finalize, saying, “It’s looking like junior high boys and girls will go from 3:30-4:15 pretty much every day when there’s no game. And then boy and girls varsity will flip-flop for who gets earliest and who gets latest. It’ll be from 4:45 to 6:15 and then 6:15 to 8… And then dance will be in the cafe from 6-8. And that will get all teams out by 8.”
Fitzpatrick also shared, “This year, we will not be having a One-Act Play. The play Sarah did choose was not able to be done via Zoom, so she made the hard decision to cancel the One-Act Play for this season.”
The board thankfully acknowledged recent donations, with Hecimovich stating, “KABC, through their bar bingo, donated $650 to Fund 30 for the football team, and they also donated $650 to the girls basketball team. Joel and Becky Merkel, $100 donation to the junior class prom. Amanda Kasten donation of holiday lights and garland to Kingsland Public Schools, and Rochelle LaFortune, donation of holiday lights and decorations to KPS.”
Principal Klavetter informed the board that in his opinion, “Distance Learning Plus is honestly going really well. We’ve been able to help a lot of kids out, and frankly, some kids have been able to use the time to get caught back up a little bit.” He also stated that Kingsland has the ability to change back to the “hybrid learning model” as soon as January 4, although a final decision on that has not yet been made.
Horsman thanked everyone who helped with the recent “Christmas on Broadway” event, and said it was a big success. She also gave a big thanks to the two members of the board who are leaving the board, Noella Lund and Tiffany Mundfrom. She said being on the board is never easy, and especially not during the pandemic.
The Kingsland Board’s next meeting will be a work session meeting on January 4. Immediately prior to that meeting, at 5:45 p.m., the board will hold its annual organizational meeting, to determine which members service on which subcommittees.