WM school board certifies 2017-18 budget

Buying down general fund levy a priority, settlements reached on staff compensation

Large

STATE CENTER — Just over a week after West Marshall Community School District voters approved an increased Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) rate, the West Marshall school board took steps to buy down the general fund levy.

“We certified the budget for the 2017-18 school year and set the tax base at $11.53, and that did include the $250,000 on the general fund to help lower the tax base,” said Superintendent Jacy Large. “We promised everybody this past April that we would buy down more than we would make, and we did that.”

The rate of $11.53 per $1,000 in assessed valuations will be an increase from the current rate of $11.12.

Large said potential projects to use the new PPEL revenues, which will start coming in at the end of August, were not discussed at the meeting. He said potential projects are to be discussed at future meetings.

Some of those projects could include renovation of the third floor of the fourth- and fifth-grade building and the heating-cooling system at the high school.

Also approved at this week’s meeting was compensation for district staff.

“We approved all the contracts for next year for all employees,” Large said. “We settled with teachers at a 3.25 (percent increase) base for salary.”

The compensation of other classified groups, like custodians, bus drivers and food service employees, was included in the action.

Large called the 3.25 percent increase for teachers a “win,” adding it shows the district’s faith in its staff.

“We know that we are underpaid compared to some schools, but with the increase of 3.25 percent, we do thank them for their work,” Large said. “We know there are a lot of districts settling at 2 percent or below.”

Also reviewed were state assessment results for the district, and possible improvements were discussed, as well as strategies that appear to be working in the district’s favor.

For more information on West Marshall Schools, go to www.w-marshall.k12.ia.us