School board adopts budget, state funding still uncertain

The Marshalltown School Board approved the district’s 2013-14 budget with an increase in the property tax rate of 30 cents at its meeting Monday.

The approved levy rate is $17.84 per $1,000 valuation, but the school district is still waiting on the allowable growth state funding to be set by the Legislature. The $17.84 rate was set figuring zero allowable growth. School leaders are confident that the levy rate will be brought down.

“It will not remain at the $17.84 amount,” said Kevin Posekany, business director with the district.

The House Republicans are in favor of 2 percent allowable growth and the Senate Democrats are looking for a 4 percent increase for schools.

“We try to assume that it’s going to be somewhere between 2 and 4 percent,” Posekany said. “That will automatically reduce our levy.”

Posekany said a 2 percent allowable growth number would reduce the $17.84 levy by 38 cents.

School Board President Sherm Welker talked on more than one occasion at the meeting about his disgust for the lack of a state funding figure set by legislators.

“These groups aren’t necessarily communicating in a very effective and efficient way,” Welker said.

In other budget-related discussion, Superintendent Marvin Wade said he is already planning program cuts in the future that are not dependent on allowable growth.

“There are going to be reductions made in the next month,” Wade said.

The report from the January site visit by the Iowa Department of Education to the school district was discussed. One of the strengths of the school district in the report was the community partnerships and one of the weaknesses was the need for an increase in technology use in the classrooms.

Wade said there will be an agenda item to boost technology in the district at the next board meeting, which will be at 5 p.m April 15 at district offices.