Board approves certified budget

School Board
By: 
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     The Monticello School Board approved a 2017-18 certified budget that calls for a tax rate of $13.21146 per $1,000 of taxable valuation, during its regular meeting Monday, March 27 in the Administrative Board Room.

     The figure is down from $14.066 a year ago, and also lower than the published rate of $13.81926.

     Monticello’s board agreed upon the lower figure at its March 8 work session, but published a higher rate in case, after further discussion and comments from the public, it wanted to move the figure up.

     By law, the board could approve a lower rate than the published one, which it did, but not a higher rate.

     A public hearing was held at the start of Monday’s meeting, but no public comments or questions were offered.

     Also on Monday, superintendent Brian Jaeger and business manager Marcy Gillmore discussed potential insurance plans, and the possibility to switching to a partially self-funded plan for its employees instead of a fully insured plan.

     Insurance plans were presented to the board at a March 22 special work session, and the board appeared most drawn to the presentation by Iowa Bankers Insurance and Services, Inc., which offers health insurance through Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Iowa.

     That company supplied figures to the board for Monday’s meeting, showing that a switch to its fully insured plan could save the district nearly $66,000, while a partially self-funded plan could bring savings of more than $128,000 to the district.

     In other action, the board:

     • approved the cookie dough bid of Minntex Citrus for the softball team fundraiser.

     • approved a resolution for an exemption from the Department of Education to allow Spanish IV to be taught in the district through Iowa Learning Online for the 2016-17 school year.

     • approved the second and final readings of five board policies, involving student enrollment, secondary student organizations, student eligibility and good conduct policy, student government, and the school food program.

     • approved, as part of the consent agenda, the resignation of Dawn Long as special education child specific associate, the appointments of Jim Reuter as special education bus drive and of Doug Ries and Tim Lambert as driver’s education instructors; and the amendment of Karen Menster’s contract from Panther Academy supervisor to Panther Academy associate.

     • approved, as part of the consent agenda, a personnel sharing agreement with the Midland Community School District. As a result, Kris Weers will serve as human resources director for both districts, with 80 percent of her time serving Monticello and 20 percent serving Midland.

     • moved into exempt session for a strategy session.

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