Concordia School Board talks assessed valuations, revisits track program
At the regular meeting of the Concordia School District Board of Education, held on June 8, Superintendent Mary Beth Scherer shared with the board that letters from the county assessor would be going out indicating an increase in the assessed valuation of their property.
“I was told by Chip Langman. Lafayette County assessor, that property values increased in the Concordia school district by 19.5 percent,” she said. “The way the formula for setting public school tax rates is set up is when your assessed valuation goes up, your tax rate goes down and vice versa.”
Because the tax rate is set to generate only a specific amount of money each year, you get the least of these three amounts: (1) The Consumer Price Index (CPI), (2) your actual growth in assessed valuation or (3) 5 percent growth.
“So, even in the best of times you can never get more than 5 percent new money,” she stated. “Currently, the CPI looks like it will be approximately 2.1 percent. If it stays in the range of 2.1 percent, the district will receive approximately $49,000 in new funds from the tax payers in our district.”
She also reminded the board they had levied 35 cents less than it could for the 2016-2017 school year because the distrct wanted to be fair to local taxpayers.
The board took action on several items during the course of the meeting, approving curriculum for several courses that had been finished up by district staff and the recent “Curriculum Camp” the district sponsors. Elementary Principal Joe Beydler assured the board that all curriculum approved was reviewed by the principals, and meets the district and state guidelines.
In new business, as the result of a petition, the board approved adding back high school track for the 2017-2018 school year. Track was dropped for the 2016-2017 school year after numbers dwindled to a very low point at the end of the previous track season. Twenty-five students have now indicated they plan to participate in track in the spring of 2018. According to Scherer, when students are involved in extra-curricular activities they have better attendance and must keep their grades passing to participate.
“There is a strong correlation between involvements in extra-curricular activities and student achievement,” she said.
The board voted 5-0 to add high school track back for the upcoming school year.
After much lively discussion, the board authorized the district to obtain a district purchase/credit card. Scherer shared with the board that there were some instances when having a card would be helpful, such as making lodging arrangements for staff attending in-service sessions or preventing staff from having to carry cash on student trips.
“The district will adopt stringent procedures for the use of a district purchase/credit card, cards will be kept in the central office and staff using the card would be required to sign a user agreement to utilize the card,” Scherer said, stating that the other county and conference schools she had been in contact with currently utilize the cards.
The board also held a lengthy discussion with regard to hiring their own IT director after being with Midwest Computech for many years. Board president Alan Deatherage was solidly behind the idea.
“I think anytime you have the opportunity to have an employee instead of a contracted service you get better service, they are just more invested in the district,” Deatherage said.
The board voted unanimously to move ahead and advertise for the new position quickly and plan to hire at the June 22 board meeting if possible.
Other actions taken by the board included the approval of the District Professional Development Plan and Budget and approval of Physical Therapy of Concordia as their physical therapy provider for students whose Individual Education Plan required physical therapy. The board also approved Belief Statements adopted by each building. These statements outline the beliefs that each staff member will adhere to as they work to provide a quality education for students in the Concordia school district.