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The Daily



07-16-03: St. Henry board wants operating funds
The Daily Standard
    ST. HENRY - School district residents likely will see an operating levy on the ballot in November as board of education members continued to discuss millage amounts at Tuesday's regular board meeting.
    No decision was reached on the millage amount, but board members did discuss increasing the millage to cover a forecasted budget deficit and possible state funding cuts.
    The 8.8-mill operating levy approved by voters five years ago generates $490,000 per year and expires in December. With the increase of property values in the district, the millage of that levy has dropped to 7.1 mills this year to bring in the same amount of money.
    Members considered new millage rates from 8.81 up to 10.67, which would generate $660,00 to $800,000 respectively.
    Although the five-year forecast projects a deficit balance of $724,920 by fiscal year 2007, district Treasurer Glenn Miller said the later years of the forecast are based on many financial assumptions that likely will change.
    However, fiscal year 2003's deficit spending of $167,499 is projected to escalate to a $608,915 deficit by the end of fiscal year 2004. Extending the trend further, fiscal year 2007 shows deficit spending of $1,227,468.
    "Although we currently have $1.5 million in the coffers, deficits cannot go on or we'll eat away at that cash. We have to do all we can to turn this around," Miller said.
    More than 70 percent of the district's funding comes from the state, and Miller said trying to accurately predict whether the state will or will not make cuts to schools is just not possible.
    St. Henry school district's total millage rate is the lowest in Mercer County at 33.55 and also involves no income tax levy, school officials noted. The new property valuation shows each mill worth $74,957, with the district's total property valuation at $74,957,130.
    Deadline to put an issue on the November ballot is Aug. 21.
    Board members decided to address the issue again at the August meeting and consider additional information to be provided by Miller and invited guest Mercer County Auditor Mark Giesige.
    Fees for driver education classes will increase to $200 per student, up from $150. More than 100 students are signed up for driver education program next school year.
    "The program will offer eight hours of driving and 24 classroom hours," Superintendent Rod Moorman told board members, adding information for parents will be in the next school newsletter.
    In his report to the board, Moorman noted cafeteria receipts for 2003 were up 21 percent over 2000's receipts. But, expenses also are up 25 percent over the same period.
    "More kids are eating in the cafeteria and last year our profit was up 3 percent over 2000," Moorman said.
    Lunch prices for next school year will be the same as last year and additional items, such as yogurt and ice cream sundaes, will be available, which Moorman expects to increase profits more.
    In the Celebrate Success portion of the meeting, student athletes with the boys state baseball championship team and the girls softball state runner-up team were honored with board recognition and received St. Henry pins.
    "These athletes did a fantastic, exceptional job. I hope we can do it all again next year," Moorman said.


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All content copyright 2003
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