April 16, 2012

Board looks at first draft of 2012-13 budget

The Hamilton School Board took its first look at the 2012-13 budget at its regular meeting. The budget totals $49,115,185 — a 1.66 percent increase over the current budget but is still 2.13 percent less than the budget from two years ago.

The district expects to see a nearly two percent drop in state aid, which will shift a greater share of revenue onto the local property tax levy. The tax rate will be $10.41 per $1,000 of equalized property value, a 2.78 percent increase. The impact for local taxpayers will be a $28 increase for each $100,000 of property owned.

The budget was created with the assumption that property values in the district will remain stable and enrollment will increase by 45 students. The tax rate could be affected if the projections do not match up in October with actual numbers. Increased property values and student enrollment would result in a lower tax rate, and less-than-expected property valuation and enrollment will cause an increase.

Businesses Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud characterized the proposed financial plan as a “status quo budget” because schools and departments were asked to come in with zero-percent increases. Exceptions were increases for utility costs and school additions at Woodside and Marcy elementary schools that will begin this summer.

The School Board will vote in May on the final budget that will be presented at the June 18 Annual Meeting.

School fees, lunch prices to increase

In other financial business, the School Board adjusted the 2012-13 school and user fees and lunch prices.  To simplify the fall registration process, the $20 technology fee will be included in the student fee. All student fees except those for 4-year-old kindergartners will increase by $20 to cover student consumable technology expenses. In addition, the family cap will be dropped on all fees.

Lunch prices will go up again – this time by 10 cents per meal. New prices will be $2.35 for elementary students, $2.75 for middle and high school students and $3.50 for adults. Milk will remain at 30 cents per carton. The higher costs are due to federal requirements for healthier school lunches.

Board members take oath of office

The three top vote-getters in the Hamilton School Board race were sworn in.  Incumbents Dawn VanAacken and Deborah Briggs and challenger Brian Schneider were elected in the April 3 spring election. Incumbent Lynn Kristensen lost her seat to Schneider.

Woodside volunteer honored

Woodside Elementary School parent Greg Winston was recognized for outstanding volunteer service to his child’s school. Principal James Edmond said Winston has been involved at Woodside in many ways, including helping in his daughter’s classroom, creating videos for school PBIS initiatives, participating in a program that encourages fathers to volunteer and providing intervention and support for student learning. Numerous Woodside staff members attended the meeting to support Winston’s recognition.

Personnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board approved the contract of Joseph Premo as a Hamilton applied technology and engineering teacher.