A hike of more than $4.8 million in assessed valuation throughout USD 377 appears to throw Atchison County Community Schools out of the running for additional state aid other than the 20 mills in the general fund.
The 2019 assessed valuation for the district checks in at more than $73.5 million for the district as calculated by Atchison County Clerk Michelle Phillips. The current total compares to more than $68.7 million of assessed valuation for the previous year. About $69.3 million comprises the state required 20 mills in the district’s general fund for the 2019-20 school year.
Of the assessed valuation total about $2.3 million worth of properties are subject to rebate according to terms of The Neighborhood Revitalization and Tax Rebate Incentive Plan.
Board Clerk Megan Gracey, 377 business manager, informed 377 Board of Education members of the news during their regular board meeting on Wednesday. Gracey said the state released its budget software on Tuesday that indicated the district is not eligible for state aid to operate throughout the year.
Dr. Andrew Gaddis, superintendent of schools, said the divisive factor to determine how the state allocates state aid for districts from assessed valuations and the number of students makes it appear we are a wealthy district in the state’s eyes.
“Our wealth is in the ground,” Gaddis said.
The rise in the assessed valuation means about $5,000 more per mill than the previous school year. The local option budget is solely funded revenue generated from the local taxpayers.
Board members authorized Gaddis and Gracey to proceed with their budget work for the required publication of the proposed budget and its notice of hearing. Board members also approved the time and date for hearing. The public hearing for comments concerning the budget is 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at the district’s administrative building.
Gracey reported that there was an ending cash balance of $209,000 that was transferred to the capital outlay fund, of which will cover a $170,000 payment due to pay for Atchison County Community Elementary School renovation project in recent years.
Gaddis announced he has learned the district will receive the $9,000 grant funding by way of the legislative approved Kansas Safe Schools Act 2019. The grant requires districts to match the funding $1 per $1, Gaddis said.
After some discussion, board members approved the purchase of a black, 10-passenger van for $27,444 from Rusty Eck Ford, and a 59-passenger bus for $82,751 from Midwest Transit. Gaddis was directed to prepare necessary information to sell bus 40 and 50 in the district’s fleet.
Concerning other matters, board members:
Publicly acknowledged and accepted gifts to benefit the sports complex ball fields by was of a donation to repair some damages and correct drainage issues caused by recent heavy rains. Accepted were dirt work and grading behind the Atchison County Community High School and lime for the infields from Martin Construction and labor and use of machinery from Mike Wessel to spread the lime at the complex.
Recessed from public session discuss non-elected personnel matters for 30 minutes. After board members resumed public session they approved a salary increase for teachers and bus drivers. Board members President Nancy Keith, Greg Smith, Kelli Bottorff, Corey Neill, and Lori Lanter voted in favor of the measure. Vice-president Barb Chapman abstained. Board Member Lori Jones was absent.
Approved the list of substitute teachers as presented: Deb Forbes, Pat Forge, Barb Metcalfe, Dean Swafford, Duane Feldkamp, Cecilia Carpinelli, Denny Cunningham, Dorothy McDermed, Loretta Schrick, Tim Walters, Kate Oswald and Courtney Caplinger. Rob McLenon was hired as bus route driver. Supplemental Contracts are extended to Lane Chew as assistant wrestling coach; Rita Eckert and Jeanne Cave to serve as teacher mentors.
Unanimously adopted a resolution to extend the terms of Keith and Chapman until the January 2020 board meeting. This means board members will elect their leaders after the school board elections in November and all elected then will begin serving new terms.
Unanimously reappointed the following to serve throughout the 2019-20 school year: Business Manager Megan Gracey – board clerk, Accounts Payable Clerk Kathy Enzbrenner – deputy clerk and Steve Caplinger — board treasurer.
Unanimously removed the graduation requirement to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
Approved the purchase of 70 Chromebook in the amount of more than $18,241 using federal grant funds in effort to continue the rotation of older Chromebooks. The new Chromebooks will serve two classes.
Adopted the Kansas Association of School Board policies as presented.
Approved a plan to continue the tradition to host a luncheon for all employees about noon Monday, Aug. 12, the first contract day of the year.
Challenged board members to donate to the newly organized ACCCS Education Foundation to benefit Atchison County Community Schools.