Board talks levy, amends budget

Angie Talken
Chillicothe News

The Chillicothe R-II Board of Education met Tuesday evening to discuss amendments to the budget and a possible levy campaign.

Superintendent Dan Wiebers said during the board regular monthly meeting adjustments were made to the budget for the 2020-2021 school year, which was originally approved at the board’s June meeting.

“As the school years starts we make adjustments to the budget as we have new revenues or expenditures,” Wiebers said in a phone interview. The district will receive an increase of $251,193.77 dollars over the budgeted amount, due to increased amount in assessed valuations for personal property for taxpayers in the county.

Board meeting notes also show that after the approval of the refinancing of the 2012 Series General Obligation Bonds, the district will make a one-time payment of $325,000 towards the new 2020 General Obligation Bond.

Wiebers said the district had $19,007.04 in funds remaining from last school year, that they are mandated by law to be spent this year on professional development.

The board also discussed tuition rates for the 2021-2022 school year, which was set at $9,563.56. Wiebers said that is the cost from area school who send students to Chillicothe High School for education from 9-12 grades.

Weibers reported that the board discussed the possibility of putting another levy issue before voters.

Dates were discussed for filing deadlines and elections, and when the funds would be available to the district, should the levy issue be approved.

If the issue was before voters on April 6, 2021, or Aug. 3, 2021, revenues would be generated for the 2021-2022 school year, while placing the issue on the Nov. 2, 2021 ballot, funds would be generated funds for the 2022-2023 school year.

According to documents provided to the board of education, if the district ran the same levy increase that was attempted in spring 2019 and spring 2020, the district would generate an additional $973,243.93 in revenue ($.68 levy with $153,896,890 Assessed Valuation with 93% collection rate).

The board choose to establish a committee made up of members Paul Thomas and Clint Williams, who will meet with Wiebers and develop a plan prior to the board’s October meeting.

The board also discussed how COVID is affecting the district, and Wiebers said plans continue to develop through the cooperation and guidance of the state and local health departments along with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“The board, administrators and staff present overwhelmingly thanks to the teachers for their hard work dealing with things none of us ever imagined having to deal with when we went into education,” Wiebers said. “They re dealing with having been out of school two months last year, now students on quarantine and now in-class, virtual and distance learning. They are doing an amazing job of educating our children.”

While not discussed at the board meeting, in a phone interview Wiebers noted said that as the typical flu season approaches, there is encouragement for flu vaccines, and said he recognizes that as parents check the symptom list and evaluate their child’s health there will be situations where students will be quarantined.

“We have a protocol to follow and when there is a positive COVID test result we do contact tracing, which includes anyone the person who is positive was in six feet or less contact with another person for more than 15 minutes.

“This may lead to some students be quarantined until they have a negative COVID result, when they may have had the flu or flu symptoms,” he said.

Footings for the district’s new administration building have been poured this week, next steps include electrical work and the pouring of a concrete pad, which the building will sit on. The next step is waiting for the building to be constructed, then brought to the site, which could take 8-10 weeks. Wiebers said the plan and hope is that the building will be finished in April 2021. Funds for the new district building are from an insurance claim when the district’s old administration offices were destroyed by floodwaters in the spring of 2019, the district is only responsible for the $1,00 deductible.