Coleman School Tax Levy To Drop SlightlyIssue Date: October 7, 2020
The property tax levy for properties in the Coleman School District will be down very slightly again this year, despite a drop in student count, Superintendent Doug Polomis reported at a special school board meeting on Monday, Oct. 5.
The District's annual meeting and budget hearing are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19, to be followed by the regular monthly board meeting at 7 p.m.
Late in the meeting the board approved the budget for publication prior to the Oct. 19 Budget Hearing and Annual meeting.
Polomis said printed information will be provided at the annual meeting on where the district's money came from and where it was spent.
Polomis reported the official third Friday student count was 658 this year, down from last year's 675, leaving the 3-year average at 686. Polomis said some families opted to go to independent home schooling this year.
The drop in the number of students was offset by an increase in general state aid from $9,700 per student to $10,000. The $10,000 per student multiplied by he third Friday student count is the money they have to spend, Polomis told the board. Property tax levy covers expenses not covered by state aid. The levy is down slightly for the third consecutive year, Polomis said.
Income for the student activity account is down due to lack of events and no ticket sales this year. Open enrollment is down this year, with open enrollment in bringing income of $471,066, while open enrollment out results in spending $619,685, resulting in an overall expense of of $114,695 on the 2020-2021 budget. Polomis explained 14 students who live in another district decided to stay in their home district this year.
Federal CARES Act revenue brought an extra $80,000 into district coffers for this year.
Overall, Polomis was pleased that through the work of Business Manager Lori Beland they again will have a balanced budget, with the tax levy rate of $9.62 per $1,000, the same as last year This, he noted, includes $700,000 to pay off some of the referendum debt early, which will save district taxpayers a great deal of money in interest costs over the years and make it possible to repay the entire referendum debt off ahead of time, wile keeping the tax rate even. He noted the interest saved by paying off the non-referendum debt ahead of time last year went into Fund 10, making it easier to balance the budget.
Food Service revenue rose from $94,000 to $118,000, mainly through paying for free lunches and breakfasts for students with CARES Act funding.
Board President Ryan Wendt asked how much money was left in the Referendum project fund. Beland said she is still working with the people from Miron to find out for sure, but added, "I think we're going to come out looking good."
Polomis said they have until April of 2022 to use the borrowed money for projects that fall under the referendum questions that allowed it He said they invested the borrowed money until it was needed at interest rates that exceeded the amounts they were charged on the bond issue, earning nearly an additional $400,000. They also paid for the roofing replacement with Fund 46 money, which allowed them to keep drawing interest on the referendum project money.
"It's really nice to come in under budget and on time," declared Board Member Corey Kuchta.
Wendt declared he had never before served on a board that had money left over after it was allocated for a project. "Normally they try to spend it on something," he declared. He said by paying off the $200,000 last year and making the additional payments this year, "...we're saving the tax payers a lot of money and taking of years of paying for the referendum renovation project.
Polomis congratulated Mrs. Beland and thanked her for keeping up with the daily expenses of the district while also keeping up to date with referendum project expenses as well.
Moving on to other business, Wendt noted the Policies Committee had reviewed numerous changes recommended by Neola, mostly related to COVID. Copies of the changes were provided to board members and will likely be on the agenda for approval at the Oct. 19 board meeting.
The board approved hiring Carol Ehlinger as Junior Class Advisor and Tyler Olsen as a volunteer basketball coach.
Donations accepted included $395.12 for FFA from Zoetis, $500 for FFA from Kotecki Veterinary Service, and $200 for the Coleman Cross Country team from Enterprise.
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