Forty days have passed without objection since publication of the legal notice granting USD 377 the authority to raise the capital outlay budget an additional mill.

The deadline to submit protest petitions with signatures from 10 percent of qualified voters in the district was April 25. Board members adopted the resolution to seek the extra mill during their Feb. 16 meeting. The decision was made after the boiler, the major heat source, in the district’s central office bottomed out beyond repair that brought a need for replacement.

Prior to the boiler breakdown, there were some unexpected costs associated with unforeseen maintenance needs that arose after adoption of the current schoolyear’s budget. By statute, the district already had the authority to levy 4 mills to fund capital outlay expenditures like maintenance, repairs, buses, computers and things like that. Instead, board members opted to hold the line and actually gave taxpayers more than a 2-mill break for the 2018-19 schoolyear although capital budget was fully funded.

The board will have the authority to utilize the additional mill for buildings, school equipment and vehicles as well as some other things in accordance with the statute starting in the 2019-20 schoolyear.

“Since the resolution was not protested,” Gaddis wrote in an email, “USD 377 now has the authority to assess 5 mills for capital outlay in perpetuity ... This will be at the discretion of the Board of Education as too how much to levy each year. This will definitely bring relief as well as flexibility to the district moving forward but the district is also going to conscious of the impact of taxes on our stakeholders.”

Board members sought authority to raise an additional four mills, not to exceed eight mills, in July 2017, but their quest was quashed after the required number of qualified voters signed petitions demanding the matter be put to a vote.

By statute, the district is considered to be subject to the “extraordinary needs” clause that allows board members the option to raise their local option budget up to a 33 percent maximum.

Mary Meyers can be reached


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