School Budget Adopted

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School District Plans For Zero Allowable Growth

By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    The Glenwood Board of Education unanimously approved its certified budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year at its regular monthly board meeting held at the Pacific Junction United Methodist Church last Monday, April 11.
    The $34.4 million dollar certified budget, which estimates the revenues the district hopes to gather in funding over the next fiscal year, represents slightly more than a two-percent increase over last year’s budget. The certified budget gives the district authority to levy taxes to fund the school district’s expenditures.
    By law, school districts must certify budgets with the state by April 15.
    The district’s tax asking is up slightly for 2011-2012, from $7.651 million last year to $7.654 million this year. Glenwood’s budget, while higher that last year, will actually have district residents paying less in school taxes this year. The school district’s tax levy will go down from 18.28 per $1,000 of home’s taxable valuation to 17.54 for the next fiscal year. The .74 cut means, without factoring in city or county taxes,  school district taxes on a home valued for tax purposes at $100,000 will go down about $38.
    Much of that tax cut is due in part to the district’s passage of the Instructional Support Levy this spring. The ISL, which allows the district to levy 7 percent of its total program costs to purchase curriculum materials such as textbooks, workbooks, software, technology and other supplemental learning materials for students, allowed the district to cut property taxes by paying down its debt services. The levy, however, did increase income surtaxes for district residents.
    The district estimates expenditures in instructional spending at $18.3 million, $7.8 million in support services, $2.2 million in non-instructional programs and $4.4 million in other expenditures such as facilities acquisition, debt service and compulsory AEA support.
    The district’s 2011-2012 budget was designed expecting a freeze in allowable growth in state funding. The debate continues in the Iowa Legislature on state education funding, however, Gov. Terry Branstad has requested zero percent allowable growth for 2011-2012 to remedy some of the state’s budget woes.
    Under a zero-percent allowable growth formula, Glenwood would receive $5,883 per student in state funding or about $11.9 million in the next fiscal year.
    If the state does adjust the allowable growth, the district can lower its tax levy, but cannot increase it.
    There were no comments from the gallery during a sparsely-attended public hearing on the budget prior to the regular board meeting. Glenwood Community School District Superintendent Devin Embray said he was disappointed there weren’t more attendees, but that you can take that response one of two ways.
    “It’s either apathy or you can take it in the sense folks are confident what you’re doing is the right direction and you’re moving forward and they don’t need to come,” Embray said. “We communicate so much the board meetings are sort of a formality. People are busy with their families and I would say if they don’t have the level of concerns that it draws them to the meetings, they find other ways to communicate or they show up.”
    Other School Board News
    * The board approved a lease agreement between the district and the Iowa Department of Human Services for use of the 103 Central Building on the campus of the Glenwood Resource Center. The 103 building houses the district’s central office and Kid’s Place.
    The lease will extend from April 1, 2011, to June 30, 2014. The cost for the lease is $1 per year.
    * The board gave approval for the purchase of new computers for the 2011-2012 school year. The purchase would include 260 new laptops and the costs would be split among School Infrastructure Local Option Sales (SILO) tax money and a grant from the Microsoft Foundation.
    * The board approved the district to advertise for the sale of obsolete kitchen equipment from the food service department.
    * The district received a $900 grant from the Iowa Tennis Association for the purchase of new equipment.