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Slater Board of Education discusses tax levies (Updated 10:35 a.m. 8/19/09)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Slater Board of Education set operational and debt service levies during its meeting Tuesday evening, Aug. 18.

The operating levy was set at 3.8531 cents per $100 of assessed value and the debt service levy was set at .5612 cents per $100 of assessed value.

This will "raise our overall total tax rate from 4.2798 to 4.4143," said Superintendent John McEachern.

This change is because of a $22,000 increase in the assessed value of the school district's real estate and a decrease of $676,000 in the assessed value of its personal property, said McEachern. Additionally, the district's revenue from the so-called "utility tax" decreased by $132,000, he said.

The operating levy, McEachern told the board, is calculated for the district by the state. Though the board could have raised it to 3.9531 "because the utility tax went down, ... we're not." he said.

McEachern also spoke about the new school building proposed for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.

"Our debt service levy at 56 cents will cover our existing bond and an additional bond without any foreseen increases whatsoever to the debt service levy," McEachern said. "... 56 cents on the debt service should take care of us for some time."

The board saw a Missouri School Board Association Board Report video that touched on a few topics including open enrollment. The video showed only one person speak on that matter, MSBA Associate Executive Director of Advocacy Mike Reid, who expressed negative feelings about open enrollment.

"The people have determined how much money they want to spend to educate their own students. Here, we're bringing someone in from the outside (who is) taking advantage of that," said Reid.

"Every district needs to look at how open enrollment is going to affect them," he added.

Board President Rick Hays asked McEachern if open enrollment was similar to vouchers, to which McEachern responded affirmatively.

"We've voted down vouchers a couple of times," said Hays.

McEachern also told the board of the district's Adequate Yearly Progress and Annual Progress Report.

The district's AYP status has remained the same at nine points. Though many students have raised themselves from a "below basic" rating to a "basic" rating, McEachern said the AYP rating would not increase until more students reached the next rating, "proficient."

10 students were within eight points of a "proficient" rating, which, McEachern said, equated to two and two-thirds questions on the standardized test.

The board approved three requests to use the school building, including requests from Fairville-Reynolds 4-H, Slater Girl Scouts and Slater Optimist Club.

The board approved putting out a bid to purchase wood and rubber mulch for the playground.

McEachern gave the board a report on summer projects, telling members that all exterior doors had been painted.

Only board member absent from the meeting was Joey Gochenour, because Gochenour is deployed in Iraq with fellow National Guardsmen.

Contact Geoff Rands at marshallreporter@socket.net

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