Goessel budget reduces levy by 6.27 mills

The Goessel school board passed the 2014-15 budget during its Aug. 11 meeting that includes a reduction of more than 6 mills in the district levy.
Superintendent John Fast said the tax rate for USD 411 patrons will drop from 59.89 to 53.62 mills. He said the drop is due partly to the Kansas Supreme Court ruling that poor valuation school districts must be equitably funded.
The drop also is due to the school board raising the local option budget to 30 percent.
?Since we receive 60 cents on the dollar, we increase our aid from the state and lower the tax burden on our patrons by raising the LOB,? Fast said.
With that, the board passed the 2014-2015 budget of $2,298,488 for the general fund and an LOB of $782,862. Fast said this is up a total of $100,000 because of an expected increase in enrollment and the increased LOB. Projected enrollment shows an increase of eight students for the new school year.
In the treasurer?s report, Fast said the capital outlay and contingency funds are doing well.
?We?re off to a good start for this year,? he said, adding that with good money decisions the school ?will be in good shape.?
Auditor Vonda Brechei?sen, a certified public accountant with Knudsen and Monroe of Newton, said there were ?no issues? with the audit and all funds were within the budget. The board accepted her report.
Brecheisen commended board clerk Joni Smith and Fast for their work and said they are ?very easy to work with.?
Dale Clark, also with Knudsen and Monroe, said the current budget is down from 2008, 2009 and 2010.
?But for the reduction from the state, you?ve done a pretty good job of holding your own,? he said
Board chair Dan Miller asked about the amount designated for special education. Board member Maynard Knepp asked, ?We have an assessed amount?? Fast responded that yes, it is an assessed amount, and ?We can?t cut (special education) costs.?
Construction project
Turning its attention to its construction project, the board heard Chad Henson of Loyd Builders report that the doors, electronic locks and cabinets are coming soon for the front office at the high school.
Henson said the west annex is progressing; the iron workers were working in that area, and sheet rock and duct work are progressing.
Painting will begin soon, and masonry work is continuing.
Henson said classrooms are the big focus right now. Scott Boden, junior and senior high school principal said there is ?lots left to go.?
Fast said the family and consumer science classroom already looks nice.
Painting will begin soon in the weight room, and the board discussed flooring for that room. Henson described different types of flooring for the weight room and recommended cushioned mat rubber flooring.
?It?s very durable,? he said. ?It glues down to the floor.? Henson said weight room equipment would last longer because it would not be dropped onto concrete.
Fast reported the high school entry has wider steps and a wheelchair ramp. He said remodeling work is continuing on the high school art room, science room, front entry and weight room. He said the alumni room looks nice.
Even though the project will not be completely done by the beginning of school, Boden said, ?Yes, we will have school on the 28th.?
Progress is continuing at the elementary school. Fast said the east entry at the elementary school will be completed before school starts, and the boys? restroom is nearly done. Work is continuing on the storm shelter, although it will not be done by the first day of school.
Henson described frustrations workers have experienced, but he summed up his report: ?There are a lot of positive things happening.?
Fast added, ?It?s being done as a quality job.?
Other business
In other business, the board:
? heard from Boden that a section of the high school gym floor had to be replaced due to a water leak. He said the drains are now fixed.
? expressed appreciation to the ministerial alliance for its donation of school supplies for elementary school students. Fast said the organization has ?been exceedingly generous,? and the supplies are ?greatly appreciated.?
? heard from Fast that the ministers plan to participate with school personnel in a poverty simulation. He said about 60 or 70 people are needed for the simulation. Someone from Circles of Hope will be available.
Fast said the number of Goessel?s free and reduced price lunches have jumped from 14 percent of the students needing assistance to 40 percent.
? commended Pam Abrahams and her volunteers for their work in the school?s summer garden. Fast said cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers and peppers will be ready for the students when they come back to school.
? approved the resignation of Travis Duerksen as forensics coach. ?He brought a lot of passion and ability? to his job,? Fast said.
Duerksen plans to spend a year in Indonesia to help Mennonite churches with digital media.
? voted to hire D.J. Free?man to assist Dana Stein?metz with the cheerleading program. They will share the funding, so the assistant position will not add cost for the school.
Boden said Freeman does some substituting for the school district.
? expressed gratitude to the custodians at both buildings for their continuing good work in spite of the construction and remodeling project.
? heard that the sheriff’s department is planning a training exercise at the grade school, and plans to hold a similar one at the junior/senior high school later in fall. Fast said the exercise will be done at every school in Marion County.
? heard Boden report that response has been positive for sponsorships for advertising in the gym and football stadium.
? heard from board member Kelly Booton that the Marion County Special Education Cooperative board had not met since the last Goessel board meeting.
? heard that The Learn?ing Consortium board planned to meet the following week to discuss assessments.
? approved the financial statements of $451,699. Fast said a large expense was carpet for the grade school work room, high school math room and high school work room that had been the office. He said these items are not part of the bond project.

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