Tax rate loweredPublished 3:13pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009
By NORMA LERNER
EDWARDSBURG – Anyone for paying less taxes? Well this is the case for school taxes when the rate went down by 0.24 mills Aug. 31 by action of the Edwardsburg School Board.
Adopted by the board was a resolution to set the millage rate from 5.69 mills to 5.45 mills. This is to meet the debt for bond obligations. The 18 mills for non-homesteaded property remains the same at 18 mills for operating purposes. The millage rate was presented by financial officer Anne Flautt during the meeting.
Basically, she said the rate was reduced upon a projection on how much money it would take to pay off the debt. She said the district was able to reduce it and still meet obligations. It will be effective on the winter taxes.
The board also held a public hearing to re-confirm the Children Internet Protection Act, previously approved in 2001. The district has been CIPA compliant since that time and enforces a use Internet safety policy including Internet content filtering to prevent students from having access to inappropriate material such as pornography and other obscenities.
Gary Sawtelle, Internet Technical director, said with the filtering protection, a 60 percent discount is applicable on Internet programs that are purchased.
In other financial matters, the board adopted a resolution to refinance the 1998 bonds which reduced the debt levy from 4.75 percent to somewhere between 1.35 and 2.8 percent, Flautt said. Superintendent Sherman Ostrander said this was good news since the board made a promise to lower the rate, and “we were able to do that.” This saved $137,000 for the district.
In other news not so good, Ostrander noted from a Port Huron news editorial that superintendents are speaking out. He said it is still not known what will be cut in state aid. The article said the stimulus money added to student aid for the past year is exhausted. It could be a $150 cut per pupil and it won’t be known until Sept. 30. He said the thing is students will be back, teachers are in place, the bus schedule and repairs are done and parents have been notified about student schedules. He said the district has maintained the same level of funding and is now hearing $100 to $150 per pupil cuts. Some are saying $500. “I appreciate the media saying we are operating with the best we have. Often it’s not the best. There is so much going on with partisan politics. We are still somewhat in the state of confusion. I think it’s safe to say it’s $100 per student.”
Ostrander announced that the new Lewis Cass Intermediate School District superintendent of schools is Robert Colby. He is on the legislative board at the state level, he said.
In personnel matters, Andrea Robinson, high school special education teacher, resigned.
Hired was Jessica Kreuyer as a half-time kindergarten teacher. Marissa Matson and Jessica Wagner were hired as full-time kindergarten teachers.
Substitute employee wages remain the same as last year as follows: Custodial, $11.38; clerical, $9.91; food service aide, $9.37; transportation driver, $13.12; former drivers paid according to last wage paid before retirement. The hourly instruction rate went from $22.90 to $23.50. Substitute teacher pay stayed at $90 per day.
Re-confirmed was the district’s CIPA compliancy.
Board members Douglas Hall and Douglas Stickney were named as Michigan Association of School Board Certification of Delegates.