The Ottumwa Courier

February 28, 2014

Public hearing March 17 for EBF budget

Courier correspondent

---- — EDDYVILLE — The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont School Board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. March 17 to consider the budget for the 2014-15 school year. The board will consider a proposed budget that will maintain property taxes at the current rate of about $10.18 per thousand dollars taxable valuation.

The proposed budget is based on 4 percent “Supplemental State Aid; State Percent of Growth.” Previously referred to as simply allowable growth, a mixture of state aid and property taxes, Supplemental State Aid will be solely state aid for FY 2014 and FY 2015, Superintendent Dr. Dean Cook explained to board members.

Additionally, the proposed budget is determined for EBF considering a budget enrollment of 857.1 students and a regular program district cost per pupil of $6,366.

Districtwide property valuation increased by nearly $1 million; however, the district will only see about $54,232 in new budget money due to several things, including a decrease in certified student enrollment by approximately 29 students for the current school year.

Board Vice President Kevin Lane noted that the proposed tax rate is one of the lowest in the state.

Cook told the board he hopes to keep the tax rate low so that if the board decides to ask for a voter approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) later this year, it can be done without any tax increase. The board might consider asking the public to approve a new PPEL to fund a needed remodel of the junior/senior high school.

Board members will consider the proposed budget following the public hearing on March 17.

Board members recently approved a $272,739 budget for dropout prevention for fiscal year 2015; this is up from $199,000. These funds go towards helping at-risk students. Funds are used to pay part of the salary of staff that work with at-risk students, for online credit recovery programs and to send some students to alternative school.

In another matter, Cook told the board that he would like to meet with the capital projects committee to discuss the possibility of several improvements, including building a cafeteria at the Blakesburg Elementary, an addition on to the bus garage in Eddyville and improvements to one of the exterior buildings at the junior/senior high school to possibly accommodate moving seventh- and eighth-graders into the three exterior buildings.