The Daniel Boone School Board voted 3-2 Monday night to opt in to Act 1 for 2014-15.
That means the school district will have the option to use its retirement exception and raise taxes above the district’s Act 1 index of 2.8 percent to 3.97 percent.
If the board chooses to raise taxes in June, the millage rate would increase from 28.9618 to 30.1118 mills -- an additional $137.
Board President Richard Martino said revenue from the tax increase -- with the retirement exception -- would be $1,108,000.
The district’s retirement costs will increase by $1.3 million in 2014-15, contributing to the district’s expected budget deficit of $3.5 million.
Martino and board vice president Connor Kurtz voted against the motion to opt in.
The motion was approved by the three other board members in attendance on Jan. 27: Andrew Basile, Carol Beitz, and Monica Hamill.
Absent board members included Suzanne Dungan, Robert D. McLaughlin, David Rathgeb, and Tamara Twardowski.
McLaughlin and Hamill‘s Jan. 27 board resignations were unanimously approved.
Hamill said Jan. 13 she is resigning due to personal reasons.
Both terms expire in 2015.
The board is seeking applicants to fill both seats.”
Hamill “reminded” the board that it was the recommendation of Interim Business Manager Kim Seldomridge on Jan. 13 for the district to opt in.
His budget projections through 2017-18 indicated that the district’s budget deficits will require annual tax increases.
“Not opting out at this point would give flexibility to keep kindergarten in the budget,” said Seldomridge on Jan. 13. “My recommendation is to not opt out -- too many unknowns. My best guess now with the exception is that you can fund kindergarten.”
A tax increase would keep kindergarten, but not sports, extracurriculars, elementary band, and 17 staff positions, including four middle school teachers.
“The board voted the last couple of years to ‘opt in’ -- to make it available, but didn’t use it,” said Basile.
If the board had chosen to raise taxes for 2013-14, after opting in, the district would have had an additional $666,000 in revenue.
Seldomridge said kindergarten is a $607,000 expense (with salaries and healthcare), and an additional $138,000 for mid-day transportation.
“I think there are savings to be made, and tightening our belt, and don’t believe the need to have too many options,” said Martino about wanting to opt out of Act 1.
The board also unanimously approved the resignation of Jeff Haas, director of Educational Technology, effective March 7.
Board members also approved for Acting Superintendent Dr. Patricia Sanker to meet with Ray And Associates, Inc., Austin, TX, to review the contract for the Superintendent search at a cost to not exceed $15,500.
Martino included on the Jan. 27 voting agenda a motion to approve limiting executive sessions to no more than one hour, unless extended by a majority vote.
That motion failed.
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Basile. “The time limit would be a great tool to shut down a discussion item. The job of [board] president is to control the conversation -- sometimes a three to four hour meeting after this -- but we do try to limit it when necessary. Sometimes we can knock it out.”
A motion to “approve [motions] utilizing a voice vote rather than a roll call vote on routine agenda resolutions” was approved.
“This could speed up the process -- less time voting and more time discussing,” said Martino.
Some board members said there may ultimately be an issue of defining a motion as “routine” or “not routine” for the voting agenda.