Jefferson-Morgan votes for feasibility study of middle-senior high school
JEFFERSON – Jefferson-Morgan School Board voted Tuesday to seek proposals from architects to complete a feasibility study of the middle-senior high school.
The board plans to hire an architect to consider replacing the school roof, which has become a problem, as well as to look at other improvements that may be needed for the building, Superintendent Donna Furnier said.
The middle-senior high school was constructed in 1955 and was last renovated in 1985. Repairs are needed to the roof, Furnier said. Other improvements that might be considered will depend on the assessment prepared by the architect.
In other business, the board approved a resolution agreeing not to increase taxes this year by more than what is permitted by the state index established under the Taxpayers Relief Act.
The maximum the district is permitted to raise property taxes without exceeding the index is 2.5 percent. This equates to 0.59 of a mill, business manager Jennifer Foringer said.
If the board intended to increase taxes in excess of that amount, it would have to prepare an early budget and obtain approval from the state, the local court or voters, through a referendum question on the primary ballot.
Before approving the resolution, board member Jon Hildebrand asked whether the district would still be able to seek a referendum to exceed the limit if it determines it needs money for building improvements and other expenses.
Foringer said the board would have had to approve a tentative budget in December.
Hildebrand suggested the board consider next year possibly preparing an early budget. Though no one wants to raise taxes, he said, the board should be prepared if it decides to make building improvements or hire teachers needed in the schools.
The board received an audit for the year ending June 30, 2012. Auditor Charles Rupert reported the district received a good “unqualified” opinion and the audit included no instances of noncompliance with accounting regulations.
Rupert noted the district ended the year with a $1.4 million fund balance, of which $725,000 was unassigned and available for the district’s use. The unassigned balance represents about 6 percent of the district’s operating budget. Rupert recommended the percentage be between 8 and 12 percent.
The district’s fund balance has declined in recent years. The district this year used about $310,000 of its fund balance to balance its budget.
Parent Shawn Johnson addressed the board, saying her four children have experienced racial intimidation in the district. She said she has talked to principals, but nothing has been done about it. Board President Mark Pochron said the district takes these reports very seriously and the board will look into the matter.
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