Highland News Leader

Highland School Board approves tentative property tax levy approved

The Highland School Board on Monday approved a tentative tax levy of around $18.3 million, a 2.57 percent increase over last year’s levy of about $17.8 million.

However, the district’s tax rate would actually fall slightly if estimates of the district’s equalized assessed value (EAV) hold true. The tax rate would decrease by about 5 cents per $100 of EAV, from $4.89846 to $4.84943.

For a home owner with a house that had a fair market value of $75,000, it would be a $12.70 cut to the school’s property tax bill; a $150,000 home, a $25.39 cut; a $225,000 home, $38.09; and a $300,000 home, $50.79. Of course, this assumes the value of one’s home did not increase from the year prior.

However, this is all dependent upon what the district’s actual EAV comes in at. EAV is is the taxable value of all property, land and buildings, within the district.

“Our EAV, according to initial data from the county assessors, is up about 1.8 percent,” Tim Bair, district business manager, said in memo to Highland School Board members.

However, Bond County has not completed its assessment cycle, yet. Bair said he plans to have better numbers by the board’s December meeting, when the final property tax levy will have to be approved. Until then, he put the estimated EAV increase at double what the known numbers are now.

“I prepared the tentative levy at 3.61 percent (increase in EAV) to provide some ‘cushion’ for unreported properties and/or adjustments due to changes in final multipliers, as well as increased farmland assessments in Bond County,” Bair said.

The district is estimating its total EAV at just over $377.5 million ($361.5 million in Madison County, $15.8 million in Bond County, and $171,000 in Montgomery County). That would be a 3 percent jump in Madison and Montgomery counties and a 19.5 percent increase in Bond County.

Other Board Action

Personnel moves approved

The School Board approved the following personnel moves:

Retirements:

▪ Donna Plocher, reading teacher at Highland Primary, effective end of the 2019-2020 school year.

▪ Karen Rust, speech pathologist at Highland Primary, effective end of the 2019- 2020 school year.

New Hires:

▪  Joseph Dubach, custodian at Highland High School, effective Nov. 7, 2016.

▪ Liang Ge, volunteer ESL assistant at Highland Middle School.

Facilities plan amended

The board approved a change to its Five-Year Facilities Plan to move roof and HVAC work planned at Highland Middle School from 2020 to 2017.

The middle school heating and air-conditioning units have reached the end of their useful life, Jeff Williams, Highland School District director of buildings and grounds, said in a memo to board members, meaning the project needed to be moved up on the list.

“These units are in need of some costly repairs resulting in an increase in occupant complaints,” Williams said.

The middle school roof replacement was also moved up.

“By doing so, we would be able to take the same amounts that we have allocated for 2020 and not only replace the roof and the air conditioning units, but also include new boilers, pumps, some window caulking, and all new interior LED lighting throughout the middle school campus,” Williams said.

New Concussion Policy Approved

The Board also approved of a new concussion protocol, aimed at protecting students who have suffered head injuries while participating in extra curricular activities. The Highland News Leader will have an extended article explaining how the new procedure works.

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