Kingsland School Board held a regular meeting on December 20. Immediately prior to the regular meeting, the board held their annual Truth in Taxation hearing.
Business Manager Amber Herbrand stated that revenue formulas for schools are set by the State Legislature, except for voter approved referendums. She also gave a summary of the school’s proposed final levy, and a synopsis of Kingsland’s revenues and expenditures. She showed a pie chart that illustrated that 73% of Kingsland’s revenues come from State Aid, with Federal Aid and Local Taxes making up the bulk of the remainder.
Regarding revenues, she showed that overall revenues are expected to be roughly $8.65 million for the current (‘21-’22) school year, down from the ‘20-’21 school year’s actual revenues of $9.27 million (a 6.8% decrease), while expenditures are expected to be $8.81 million, up 2.8% from the ‘20-’21 year total of $8.57 million.
The total proposed final levy was $2,576,713.02, which includes $1.02 million for Maintenance (General Fund), roughly $70,000 for Community Service, and $1.48 million for Debt Service. No citizens were in attendance to ask questions about the proposed levy, and during the regular board meeting, the board voted to set the final levy as proposed.
The board discussed the possibility of raising the pay for licensed substitute teachers that are called in when needed. Kingsland currently uses a service called “Teachers on Call” (TOC) to fill such openings. Kingsland currently pays $110 per day for these situations, but is finding it tough to get substitute teachers to come to Kingsland, so there was discussion about raising the pay to a competitive level.
When asked what other schools in the area pay for subs, Superintendent Hecimovich stated, “Right in the $120 to $130 range, we’re seeing beginning to happen all around us.” He said he’d like to see Kingsland increase the pay to at least $125. Jackie Horsman shared her opinion, saying, “If you’re raising it just to be the same as everybody else, you’re not going to get people from those districts to come here.” Hecimovich said he agreed, but because there is a fee paid to TOC as well, he doesn’t feel Kingsland can make the jump to paying substitutes more than $125 at this time. The board voted to approve increasing the licensed substitute pay to $125 per day beginning January 1.
Hecimovich shared information that the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has lifted the “stay” on the COVID emergency standards, effective December 5. The rule requires employers with 100 or more employees to require employee vaccination or regular testing and masking. He explained, “Bottom line is, you’re required to be vaccinated and/or be tested weekly and wear a mask if you’re unvaccinated.”
Hecimovich shared that, “Our Industrial Technology department built a weapons case for the VFW in Austin, out of oak, very nicely done. We brought it to them in the spring of the year, and at the last meeting, they approved donating $500 to the Industrial Technology department as a thank you.” The board gratefully acknowledged the donation from VFW Post 1216.
The board approved new hires, including Luke Rath and Dylan Osterhus (junior high boys basketball), Judy Vreeman (Food Service, 0.4 FTE), Jill Ramaker (administrative assistant to the superintendent), and Joe Haynes (bus driver). The board also approved FMLA leaves for Chris Howard and Barb Mundfrom.
Jackie Horsman shared appreciation for outgoing board member Pam Freet. She said Freet had learned a lot and made important contributions during her year on the board. The board’s next meeting will be on Monday, January 3 at 6 p.m. That meeting will also include the board’s annual organizational designations, in which various committee and other assignments are made for individual board members. The public is welcome. Kingsland continues to offer the option for anyone to listen in via Zoom technology.