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NH tax rate lower than expected

The news at last week’s North Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees meeting was the tax rate will be lower than anticipated.
Lance Richards, assistant superintendent, updated the five-member board Thursday night about the 1782 Notice for the 2016 budget.
Richards, who was filling in for Supt. D. John Thomas who was out on medical leave, said the original tax rate had been set at 68.31 cents by the Dept. of Local Government Finance.
However, because the school board had made a commitment for tax neutrality despite beginning a renovation project of the aging middle school building, the Capital Projects fund was lowered.
Richards said the request made to the DLGF set the new levy at $912,996 based on the assessed value of $459,484,713 for the school district. That adjustment lowered the overall tax rate from 68.31 cents to 61.93 cents per $100 of assessed value.
As a comparison, Richards said Lanesville Community School Corp. has a tax rate of 62 cents based on $159 million of assessed value and South Harrison Community School Corp.’s tax rate is 64 cents based on $1 billion of assessed value.
‘Their 64 cents raises a lot more money than our 62 cents,’ he said of South Harrison’s rate.
Richards shared another bit of good news, to the tune of $366,765.83. That’s the difference in the actual savings in the Debt Service once the middle school project was factored into the equation.
The estimated cost savings when the North Harrison Elementary School project was refinanced as part of the middle school project was $879,431.25.
‘That was a best guess’ at the time the decision was made, Richards said.
However, once the paperwork was completed, the actual savings turned out to be $1,246,197.08.
Richards also shared with the board the ‘good news’ the school corporation received from the last ISTEP+ test scores.
‘For the third or fourth year, North Harrison came out on top’ of schools in the area and put the school corporation 23rd in the state, he said.
For the language arts portion of the test, 78.5 percent of all students who took the test passed; math was a little lower, with 75.6 percent of all students passing. That equated to 68.1 percent of students passing both portions.
‘This is testimony to our teachers and the hard work they do,’ Richards said.
During public comments, senior Kyle Ballew said he thought it would be useful to students and teachers if there was an ATM machine at the high school.
Richards told Ballew he would see if that was even a possibility.
The school board approved drivers’ education for the summer, with the cost remaining the same as last year, $340 per student. Those approved to teach the course are Ron Snyder, Chris Allen, Traci Kerns and Kent Rentschler, with staffing to be determined by enrollment.
‘Three hundred forty dollars looks like a lot for students, but it’s not … (it’s) more expensive at other schools,’ trustee Gregg Oppel said.
Also approved was the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement between Harrison County and the school corporation, which, Richards explained, takes about 25 cents off residents’ tax rate.
All certified employees during the 2014-15 school year will receive a share of the performance grant from the State of Indiana, as approved by a 5-0 vote by the board.
In personnel matters, Kelly Cooper’s resignation as eighth-grade girls’ basketball coach was accepted. Appointments approved were Bill Johnson as varsity baseball assistant, Kevin Fessel as JV baseball coach, James Voyles and Gregg Oppel as high school baseball volunteer assistants, Mark Lamon as varsity girls’ softball coach, Tim Smith as varsity girls’ softball assistant, Tony Waynescott as JV girls’ softball coach, Ross Schulz as boys’ varsity golf coach, Stephanie Miller as part-time cafeteria worker, Travis Beals as high school girls’ track assistant, Angie Hinton as high school girls’ volunteer track assistant and Joe Dones as high school girls’ volunteer tennis assistant.
During board members’ communications, there was plenty of praise to go around: for the corporation’s teachers; the girls’ basketball team, which won its sectional five days earlier (the team won regional two days later); the girls’ swim team, which had just completed its season; choir director Jim Aich and the students he took to solo and ensemble contest; the boys’ basketball team; the drama club, which was staging ‘Check, please!’; and recalling the fall programs of soccer and marching band.