Finishing up a year of many changes, the Rushford-Peterson School Board held the last meeting of 2017, December 18. The meeting also encompassed the annual Truth In Taxation hearing. Just one member of the public attended the hearing where district Business Manager Toni Oian presented a summary of the 2018 levy.
The approved levy was $2,287,123.45. Of this, $946,716, or 41.39% is designated to the general fund, which is based on student enrollment. This includes items such as instructional programs, through a voter-approved excess referendum, operating capital expenses, building/land lease, and Health & Safety costs. Of these funds, 48.4% pays for regular instruction, and 14.8% for special education instruction. Smaller percentages include 9% for pupil support services, 8.9% for sites (buildings and equipment), and 7.5% for district and school administration, 4.8% for district support services, 3.3% for instructional support services, 2.6% vocational instruction, and less than 1% for fiscal/other.
General fund expenditures are mostly comprised of salary and wages for district staff (59.5%) and employee benefits (17.7%). Other expenditures include 15.9% for purchased services, 4.4% for supplies and materials, 2.3% for capital expenditures, and less than 1% for other expenses.
The bulk of the levy, $1,264,166, will pay for district outstanding bonded indebtedness. This includes the payment of principal and interest on bonds. The principal balance on the District’s bonds is $34,710,000.
Another $76,239, or 3.34% of the levy will go to the community service fund. This amount is based on the adult population of the district and funds items such as early childhood family education, school age care, enrichment programs, school readiness, and adult basic education.
The majority of the district’s revenue comes from the state (83.4%). Local taxes make up another 11% and the remaining is made up of 3.5% other local and 2.1% federal aid.
The levy is payable in 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year (fiscal year 2019).
Along district has received a favorable audit for the year. “I don’t know the board’s feeling on it, but I feel very good about it,” said Superintendent Chuck Ehler. “We ended on a positive note with our fund balance. Anytime we can do that it’s a positive reflection on handling of funds in an effective and efficient manner.”
In other news, the district has approved its share of an amended Drainage and Utility Easement with the City of Rushford. The Rushford Council will need to vote on the changes at their next meeting. The amendments move the easement, on the east side of the school, to a location within the current waterway. The move is mutually advantageous as noted by Ehler. The city attorney has reviewed the changes, which were drafted by the school’s engineers.
The district also approved a modified version of Policy #902 – Community Use of School Facilites. Issues with the policy were noted by R-P coach Davin Thompson at last month’s meeting. Thompson, who spoke for himself and several coaches, noted that the policy will charge a fee to those organizing non-school/community education events, even when the participants in the event are R-P students. Changes include allowing Youth Basketball to use the facilities as a Class II user (non-profit or fundraising).
“The challenge is consistency,” said Ehler. “Our rationale is that this is a new endeavor; a new undertaking.” There will be a one year stipulation with the agreement and a youth organization committee will need to be formed. “I want you as a board to be comfortable with the decision, with the rationale of why they’re getting a group rate. We’re willing to provide an opportunity to see how it goes for one year.”
The annual organizational meeting is slated for Monday, January 8, at 5:30 p.m., in the Forum Room. The board will decide on a number of housekeeping items such as committee appointments, board roles, and dates of future meetings. Superintendent Ehler has indicated he will be bringing a recommendation forward to move the board’s regular meetings to the fourth Monday of each month. The effort is to simplify the timeline of board approvals and payroll. The board will vote on the recommendation at the organizational meeting.
The next regularly scheduled meeting, if passed by the board, will be Monday, January 22, at 5:30 p.m., in the Forum Room. The public is encouraged to attend.