Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on the budget | Muscat

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JIM RUDISIL

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — Local residents will have an opportunity to comment on the Columbus School District’s fiscal year 2023 budget, after the school board agreed at its regular meeting on Monday to hold a March 28 public hearing on the proposal .

According to a budget summary presented at the meeting, the district property tax for several district levies is expected to be just over $10.79 per $1,000 of assessment. This would compare to a current levy of just under $11.39.

Levies included in the summary were general fund levies, management levies, voted and regular physical plant and equipment levies (PPEL), and public education and recreation levies (PERL).

School officials pointed out that despite the roughly 60-cent drop in those levies, the actual savings for homeowners would depend on assessed property values. According to the summary, the district’s valuation soared more than $6 million, from $271,694,982 this year to $277,776,910 in FY23.

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The board held a public hearing to receive feedback on the district’s proposed schedule for the 2022-23 school year.

Lori Beenen, district management/union committee member and teacher, presented two optional proposals, developed with the help of school staff and parents.

The council approved a schedule that would start school for pupils on August 23, with the last day scheduled for May 25, although snow days could be added at the end of the year as a catch-up. Overtime is also built into the schedule. Graduation will take place on May 21. A winter break will take place between December 21 and January 2; while a spring break is scheduled for March 10-17. Early outings for professional teacher training will take place on Fridays.

A bid from a Hastings, Minn., company to remove asbestos-containing materials from the high school was also approved by the board. ECCO Midwest, INC., submitted a bid for $112,000 to remove floor tile/caulking; the library ceiling components and the removal of a boiler from the secondary school building.

A bid of $118,500 from Robinson Brothers Environmental, INC., Waunakee, Wisconsin, was also considered.

The technical estimate for the work was $102,000.

The school board has also agreed to continue the district superintendent’s sharing contract with Winfield-Mount Union (WMU) with current sharing percentages. Under the current contract, Superintendent Jeff Maeder’s time is split 60% at WMU and 40% at Columbus.

Columbus was required by contract to notify WMU by March 1 if he intended to continue with the contract.

In other actions, the council:

• Accepted an offer of $19,974 from BSN Sports, Dallas, for two overhead basketball systems with stopwatch brackets.

• Approved travel May 3-8 for nine BPA (Business Professionals of America) student members and two adults to Dallas for BPA nationals.

• Agreed to spend $13,926 to expand a pilot program, which currently uses the SPIRE Title I program, to include the entire Title 1 program.

• Reviewed a bus inspection update report from the Director of Transportation, Tyler Hinkhouse.

• Held an in camera session to assess the professional competence of a school employee. The council then agreed to an unspecified settlement with Buildings and Grounds Manager Rob Edward. Maeder reported after the meeting that the settlement involved overtime.

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