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Lanesville schools expect less riverboat funds

Lanesville schools expect less riverboat funds Lanesville schools expect less riverboat funds
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

County riverboat revenue dollars have taken a drastic cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and, because of that drop, the three county school corporations’ education budget lines will be seeing a serious drop in the next year and possibly later on.

At the Lanesville Community School Corp.’s board of trustees’ meeting last Tuesday, Superintendent Steve Morris spent a majority of the meeting presenting on the proposed 2022 budget for the corporation. His main message centered around the fact that the corporation is going to have to figure out what to do without receiving as much county funding as it normally would.

“In the past, we have gotten around $130,000 of riverboat money from the county for our education line of the budget, and that is being reduced to $30,000 for 2022,” Morris said. “These dollars are going away completely for that fund in 2023.”

He also shared that there has been communication to him via other school corporation superintendents and county council members that riverboat dollars from the county, which go into the school’s debt service budget line, also could be removed in the coming years. Later, Morris said both of these statements regarding the 2023 budget have not been voted on yet but have been verbalized to him.

The vote to reduce the riverboat funding for the three school corporations’ education funds from $1.8 million to $1 million occurred Aug. 24 at a county council budget meeting. The vote was 5-2, opposed by council members Donnie Hussung and Jennie Capelle.

Capelle was against decreasing funding for 2022 as it would be “like ripping the rug out from under people doing it this soon.” She later shared that there hasn’t been a decision about the 2023 funding, but she is aware several council members have mentioned their desire to eliminate the funding altogether. Capelle added there has been no formal discussion or decision about that.

Morris said during his presentation last week that, with the decreased amount of funding for the upcoming budget, and the potential for elimination of it in 2023, technology and other fees from the school could potentially rise for parents in the Lanesville community.

“Taxpayers need to keep eyes on the fact that debt services may go away in 2023, which would make taxes around 15 cents higher (per $100 of assessed valuation) because of this,” Morris said. “This will impact every taxpayer that owns property in Harrison County. It seems we are going to have to learn to live without riverboat dollars.”

The 2022 budget, which Lanesville will have a hearing for on Tuesday and an adoption vote on Oct. 19, is being advertised at $5.9 million for the education line, $624,000 in the debt services line, $2.5 million in the operations and $380,000 for the referendum.

Morris also shared that the salary of first-year teachers will be increased, as required by the state. Currently, starting salaries for beginning teachers at Lanesville is $37,500; that will be bumped up to $40,000 for the coming school year.

He also noted that under the bus replacement plan it is possible the school corporation will have to purchase a new, full-size bus this year, which averages about $120,000, and will also have to replace another bus in 2023.

In the regular portion of the meeting, the school board approved numerous past and upcoming fundraisers for the corporation.

During the principal reports, Lanesville Elementary principal Jeff Smitley informed the board that the fourth-grade students recently received the Indiana Heritage Award for the first responders float they made for the Lanesville Heritage Weekend parade. He shared his congratulations to the class and said, with the award, they also received $500, which will be placed in the class fund to be used for future events. The fourth-grade students also signed the backside of a large, painted wooden eagle which will be placed in the office.

The Lanesville Community School Corp. Board of Trustees’ next regular meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 5:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria.