Slight decrease in Valley Falls USD 338 tax levy
by Clarke Davis
The Valley Falls school board members were given a completed budget document when they met Monday night and after review voted unanimously to have it published.
Financial adviser Dr. Harry Austin projected the budget figures on a screen to walk the members through the process. He said it was a smooth process this year and it was completed much sooner than expected, saving the board from having to hold a special meeting.
The public hearing on the budget is set for Aug. 13, the date of the regular board meeting.
There are slight increases in the district’s assessed valuation and taxpayers will get a slight break in the mill levy. The levies for all funds total 55.330, down about 1 1/3 from last year’s levy.
Those levies include 20 mills set by the state, 26.10 for local option, and 9.230 for bond and interest.
The district’s assessed value is now $15,257,714 with one mill raising $15,257. The assessed valuation for the general fund is $13,253,146. This figure is less because the Legislature gave homeowners a break on a portion of their residential property.
“I believe we have adequately funded the budget, but most of the figures are preliminary at this point,” he said.
The final valuation figures for the district won’t be established until late fall and the $3.2 million budget is based on 393 full-time equivalency students, the same as last year.
Austin went through the budgeting process to show board members how adding the extra for weighting in regards to at-risk students, special education, vocational-technical enrollment, transportation, and other factors grows that 393 figure to 835 that can be multiplied by the base state aid provided by the Legislature.
Austin said of the 30 budgets he has worked on this year, Valley Falls’ proved to be one of the easiest and he complimented the district on its record keeping.
President Jody Lockhart and Vice President John Shipley were re-elected Monday night in the annual reorganizational meeting. Sharon Sweeney will continue to represent the district on the Keystone Learning Services board.
Local contractor John Kearney brought bids to the board for building a vestibule over the west entrance to the school. The covering will keep rain, snow, and debris out of the stairwell and better protect the entrance—now the main entrance for sporting events—from bad weather.
Kearney said the cost will not exceed $88,959 and presented members with a list of the bidders. Some discussion was given to favoring local bidders, whose bids were close but not the lowest and the board split on this issue. LaVerne Clark made a motion to go with the bids as presented and it passed 4-3. Opposing were Sweeney, Shipley, and Heidi Pickerell.
Katie Ackerman, the counselor for grades 7-12, has resigned. The board approved hiring Lindsay Ponce, Lawrence, as her replacement.
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