New school tax bills will be about the same

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The Vandalia Board of Education on Tuesday approved a tax levy rate that is virtually unchanged from last year – meaning that the school portion of property owners’ tax bills will stay about the same.
“Based on the information we’re getting from the courthouse, there has been minimal growth in the county,” Superintendent Rich Well told the board.
“As a result, we look for our tax levies to be the same as last year.”
The rate for this year will be 5.21. Last year, it was 5.20.
He said that the district should receive “a little over $2 million” from local property tax revenues. The local equalized assessed valuation of real estate within the 230-square-mile district is $105,598,398, according to information provided by Well. Over the past five years, the EAV has risen 3.53 percent.
In his monthly financial report, Well reported that the district “is in a solid position” and balances are “all in the positive” through November, despite ongoing late payments from the state.
“We’re keeping our eye on our expenses,” he said, “but the state is late on transportation and all categoricals. And those payments are being funded at 89 percent (of their levels during the 2007-08 fiscal year). If we were getting 2007-08 levels, we wouldn’t have any problems.”
With one month to go before the halfway point of the fiscal year, the district has received 58 percent of its total anticipated revenue, and has made 42 percent of its total budgeted expenditures.
In the four operating accounts over which the district has spending control, the district has received 50 percent of its revenue and has made 39 percent of its budgeted expenditures.
Well noted that district officials are watching the developments in the state’s pension situation. He anticipates that the recently passed pension reform bill will face legal challenges, and said that it’s likely to go to the state Supreme Court and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The scary thing,” Well said, “is that we’re left dealing with pro-rated funding for the next several years while this plays out in the courts.”
In other action, Vandalia Junior High School Principal Brian Kern said that an after-school instruction program is being offered to about 85 “at-risk” students who are “underperforming in their classes.”
A meeting was scheduled for the parents of those students on Wednesday. Kern said that the response from those families will determine the number of teachers needed to provide assistance with homework for an hour after school. Funding for the program comes from federal Title I sources.
Semester final exams will be given this Thursday and Friday, and the district’s Christmas break runs from next Monday through Friday, Jan. 3, when teachers return for an institute day. The first day of classes will be Monday, Jan. 6.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the board took the following action:
• Approved the employment of Michael Hawks as welding instructor at Okaw Area Vocational Center.
• Approved the renewal of the district’s Workers Compensation policy with IPRF Worker’s Compensation. (This was a mid-year renewal of the policy the board approved last summer.)
• Approved the resignation of Jane Bell (assistant coach for VCHS volleyball, head coach for VCHS boys track and head coach for seventh-grade girls volleyball). Bell has accepted a full-time teaching position at Greenville College.
• Approved the employment of Tammy Isaiah as head coach for seventh-grade girls volleyball.