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home : news : news Saturday, May 28, 2016

4/17/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
'Hands tied,' Calamus-Wheatland certifies 2013-2014 budget

By Mary Rueter
Managing editor

A frustrated Calamus-Wheatland School Board Monday, April 8, voted to set the tax rate to support the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget at $12.69913 per $1,000 assessed valuation.

"Why do we have to do this tonight if the legislature doesn't have to set allowable growth?" board member Scott Knudtson asked.

The legislature's failure to establish the amount of state aid to schools has played havoc with many school districts as they speculate about how much money they will have to work with in the coming year.

While Calamus-Wheatland is fortunate to have increased enrollment this year which will serve as the base for next year's funding, Knudtson pointed out, "If we lose students next year, we could have the same situation as many other districts have this year."

School board secretary Marika Pewe outlined several funding scenarios for the board members but encouraged them to plan for the worst in order to best deal with any surprises.

Board president Ryan Vander Heiden suggested keeping the income surtax at 7 percent in order to shift some of the property tax burden away from taxpayers. "I think we should leave the surtax at 7 percent, hope for 3 percent allowable growth and wish for 4 percent," he said, "but really our hands are tied."

Fund-raising requests

The board also approved fund-raising requests for the 2013-2014 school year including a Chip Shoppe campaign by the Elementary Boosters; food item sales by the Music Boosters; FFA fruit sales; Class of 2015magazine sales; the sales of "Our Iowa Cookbook" by the FCCLA; and the sale of Casey's pizza and donut punch cards by the class of 2014.

Other business

In other business April 8, the board:

•Approved a list of 44 potential graduates pending their meeting all the graduation requirements by May 17.

•Voted to file a resolution reiterating the district's request for an early start waiver. "We've been doing this for years," Vander Heiden commented, "and it is our business to decide."

"We believe in local control," superintendent Lonnie Luepker confirmed.

•Approved the low bid of $30,116 for replacement of carpeting at the high school and elementary school. While board members said they would like to support a local business, they ultimately decided the $1,300 difference in the bid from Lowden Floor Coverings was too much for the district to absorb. "If it was my own checkbook, I'd go with Lowden, but it's not," board member Knudtson said.

Another bid for $44,305.62 was received from GCO Flooring Outlet of Davenport.

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