Certified budget hearing set for April 4 | Local

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Fort Madison Community School District Business Manager Sandy Elmore walked the Fort Madison school board through a presentation on the FY2022-2023 certified budget Monday evening.

A public hearing for the certified budget will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, April 4 at the district central office, after which the budget will be approved by the board.

Elmore said the certified budget process is basically a compliance process to permit the Department of Management to direct county treasurers to levy property taxes on the behalf of the school district.

“It generates the amount of state aid that we’re going to receive. It generates also, income surtax rates for the instructional support levy, which we have,” she said, “and it also generates the amount of spending authority that the district’s general fund will receive and that’s through the kids times the amount that we’ve talked about a lot.”

The district’s authority to levy taxes, as shown on the tax certification form, Elmore said, is the levy to fund the combined district costs.

There are some things, Elmore said, that are out of the board’s control, such as the state’s School Budget Review Committee’s modified allowable growth for at-risk students. The board recently approved the SBRC’s application.

Elmore said following the April 4 public hearing, the board will have to pass a budget guarantee resolution.

“We are going to be on a budget guarantee because with a 2.5 SSA, we had a decline in enrollment, and so that we don’t get enough individual new money,” Elmore said. “In order to collect the 1% new money we have to levy a portion of it through our property tax.”

The total general fund levy, Elmore said, will be $7,439,000.

Elmore said with the 2.5%, the district would only have received $15 million. To ensure that the district receives at least 101% of last year, it will levy $19,100.

Fort Madison Community School District Board President Dianne Hope said “another reason for taxpayers to advocate to our legislators to take educational funds out of budget surplus versus having it passed on to property taxes. I don’t think people recognize that. I don’t think our legislators recognized that when I talked to one of them.”

There are seven funds in the certified budget, with the largest being the general fund. Additionally the budget includes the management fund, PPEL fund, capital projects (SAVE – 1 cent sales tax) fund, the student activity fund, the nutrition fund and the debt service fund.

The district’s greatest expenses include nearly $20 million in instruction costs, followed by $7.8 million in support services, $2.8 million in other expenditures and $850,000 in non-instructional costs.

Sale of bonds

Several steps and approvals were necessary for the board to proceed with the sale of the $10 million bonds for the buildings project. The board approved the appointment of a variety of agents, an agreement and authorization to carry out the agreement.

Additionally, the board approved the form of tax exemption certificate, the continuing disclosure certificate and the resolution for the issuance and providing for and securing the payment of the bonds.

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