Posted on

Lanesville schools plan 2-cent hike over last year’s advertised tax rate

Lanesville Community School Corp.’s Board of Trustees met last week at the Carl Uesseler Corporation office to discuss, among other things, the school’s proposed budget.
Despite troubles regarding local tax rates, Lanesville’s school budget reflects only an anticipated 2-cent increase in last year’s tax rates, raising the advertised estimated rate to $2.15 per $100 of assessed valuation for the 2007-08 school year. However, Sam Gardner, the interim superintendent, said at Tuesday night’s meeting that the rate is not set in stone.
‘A school budget is supposed to be a plan,’ he said. ‘I wish I could be confident of this as a plan, but it’s more of an estimate.’
Gardner, a former superintendent at Clarksville Community School Corp. who was hired as interim at Lanesville last month, said he believes the actual rate will be less than $2.15. Last year, the advertised rate was $2.13, but the actual rate was $1.03. He said he thinks the actual rate this year will be about $1.33 but nothing is certain and it is possible that rate may change.
The total amount for the budget is $2,833,096, which is about a two-percent increase from last year’s budget.
Gardner said the biggest change in the budget in terms of increase in funding has been in both the bus replacement and transportation funds. Gardner attributes both of these to the increase in cost of fuel and contracted services.
The breakdown of the budget is as follows: $1,228,471 in the general fund; $667,111 in the debt service fund; $506,212 in the capital projects fund; $266,302 in the transportation fund; $140,000 in the bus replacement fund; and $25,000 in the special education/preschool fund.
During the public comments part of the agenda, school board president Donnie Hussung took time to make a comment of his own in response to articles recently published in this newspaper concerning another school board’s shift of public comments to the beginning of meetings. Hussung said the intent is not to stifle feedback from the community.
‘Public comments give the public the opportunity to respond to things on the agenda,’ before the board moves or acts, he said.
Lanesville Community School Corp. implemented the same shift in its agenda last year.
Hussung said focusing comments to things on the agenda limits ‘off the cuff’ comments that could be unfair to those not at the meeting and who would be unable to respond. Besides that, comments regarding some issues should be taken to the teacher, principal or superintendent before being brought before the board, he said.
In other matters, the school board:
‘ Recommended Upton Pry Inc., a building and contracting company in New Albany, for the proposed science lab renovation, which is estimated at $145,900. In July’s meeting, the board had heard an estimate of between $100,000 to $110,000, so the increase in funds left some board members concerned. Hussung said it could have been the result in the change in leadership that led to a miscommunication of the amounts, but that overall they’ll be getting ‘a Cadillac science lab for a pretty fair price.’ The project should take a few months to complete.
‘ Received updates on the tennis court renovation and track repair projects. The tennis court renovation, which was done to repair cracks in the surface of the court from surface water seeping up through the concrete, has been completed. The track repair is being shelved until after Lanesville Heritage Weekend since the track is used during that festival.
‘ Accepted use of a grant from WHAS Crusade for Children for the renovation of the elementary school’s playground. The renovation will cost an estimated $55,000 to complete. A $25,000 matching grant has already been accepted from the Harrison County Community Foundation. The board is currently looking for ways to match the grant, including approaching the Lanesville Community School Endowment Corp. for funding.
‘ Approved the following personnel issues: resignation of special education teacher Jackie Echelbarger, due to a new job in Kentucky; recommendation to hire Kathy Sadler to succeed Echelbarger; appointment of Gardner as the school corporation’s representative to Public Employee Retirement Fund (PERF); and appointment of Martha Beckort to the board of the Indiana Cooperative Library Services Authority.