The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 20, 2013

E-B-F ag program kept intact; budget still under discussion

EDDYVILLE — Budget cuts won’t be on the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont school board’s agenda until next week. However, this week’s budget hearing drew a crowd concerned about the proposed cuts.

“That budget hearing has nothing to do with the cuts we are making. The budget hearing has to do with one co-authorized budget for the district and for us to essentially establish our tax rate,” said Superintendent Dean Cook.

Board members approved a budget that will set property tax rates at about $10.18 per $1,000 valuation, a 56-cent decrease over the current $10.74 per thousand valuation.

However, this figure can be amended by the state if a 2 or 4 percent allowable growth rate for schools is approved by state legislators. That could push the tax rate up to $10.24 or $10.30 per $1,000 valuation.

However, to meet this budget, there is a proposal for about a half-million dollar staff cut. A proposal to reduce the agriculture program by 25 percent has been removed, but several other cuts remain on the table, including a special education teacher, 12 para-educators, three librarians, a music teacher, maintenance, utility, building and trades teacher, a part-time art teacher and reduction in days for three secretaries.

Alumna Devan Voss spoke on behalf of the building and trades program, which is facing a proposed 100 percent cut. She noted that the skills she and her brothers learned in this program helped them to rebuild their family home after it burnt to the ground.  

Meanwhile, parent John Van Zante asked the board not to cut the music program. 

“It is a program that is graded, it counts toward grade point average and it is also a program that all participants are able to compete at our competitions at a varsity level. Nobody sits on the bench,” he said.

Van Zante told the board that currently students in Fremont must go to group lessons as opposed to individual lessons due to the music teacher’s full schedule. He was concerned that if a teacher is cut in that department, students will receive even less instruction.

Community member Terry Brady urged the board to consider other options for the budget.  

He pointed out that the district has a large cash reserve, insisting that “no major cuts of educators or education programs are needed after all. At the end of fiscal year 2014, there will still be a large reserve fund of over $2 million. And the likelihood of the state Legislature and governor approving an allowable growth rate for the state public schools of 2 percent or even 4 percent is very good.”

He went on to urge the board to consider consolidating elementary school buildings to “allow better and more flexible education programs and to be able to better use teachers and staff in a more efficient manner.”

Also on the night’s agenda was approval of some coaching positions. Board member David Friedman asked to have consideration of the future of ninth-grade teams on an agenda this summer. He noted fewer players are going out for some of these sports, yet the district continues to fund ninth-grade, junior varsity and varsity teams and coaches.

“There are only so many dollars, and we can’t always take it from education. I’m talking about looking at this in the future,” he said.

A special board meeting has been scheduled to discuss and consider budget cuts next week. No public forum is planned for that meeting.

Text Only
Local News
  • Waste Management wants to stay in Keosauqua KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management told the city of Keosauqua that it was not interested in ending the contract it has for solid waste and recycling services it provides to the city. A representative told the city mayor that it intends to fulfill the contr

    April 16, 2014

  • Road transfer under consideration KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors are considering an agreement to transfer the public road known as Iowa 98 from the state to the county. The route is approximately 1.81 miles, and the county will receive $2,310,000, according to the proposed

    April 16, 2014

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416 OTT Ron Oswalt mug -T School board member resigns

    OTTUMWA — As this week's school board meeting came to a close, the president read a letter from one of the members. Board President Carol Mitchell read that fellow board member Ron Oswalt was announcing his resignation from the Ottumwa Board of Educa

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chronic wasting disease found in wild deer OTTUMWA — Since 2002, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has collected more than 50,000 samples of captive and wild deer in Iowa in an effort to look for cases of chronic wasting disease. On April 9, they confirmed an infected wild deer had bee

    April 15, 2014

  • Good Shepherd Food Pantry making a difference BLAKESBURG — Good Shepherd Food Pantry in Blakesburg began its third full year of operation this month. Start-up funds included the South Central United Methodist Conference grant of $1,200 and a large cash donation from Hope Well Church in response

    April 15, 2014

  • Council approves sale to Historical Preservation Society BLAKESBURG — Blakesburg City Council on Monday approved sale of the museum property to Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society. The $4,000 bid submitted by BHPS was the only bid received. Terms of the bid include a clause that if at sometime the p

    April 15, 2014

  • County signs law enforcement agreement with Eddyville OTTUMWA — A law enforcement service contract between Wapello County and the city of Eddyville received supervisors' approval on Tuesday. Beginning July 1, Eddyville will pay the Wapello County Sheriff’s office $3,833 per month or $45,996 for law enfo

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 OTT bbq photo, run small -T -M Where the smoke came wafting off the grill OTTUMWA — When the hobby they loved became a full-time job, Bubba-Q's owners had to put something they loved — barbecue competitions — on hold. "We haven't competed since 2011," said Sabrina Knapp, co-owner of Bubba-Q's restaurant in the Quincy Place

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition