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School raises taxes to stabilize

Staff writer

USD 398 Superintendent Rex Watson reported Monday that the general fund was down to $2,791,550.

“We’ve made as many cuts as we can make,” Watson said at the school board’s budget hearing.

Because of a decrease in state aid, the district had to increase their mill levy to 25.99 mills bringing the money they generate locally to $399,590.

“I pay them too and so do you all,” Watson said of taxes. “And that’s painful.”

Of the USD 398 local option budget, local taxpayers are contributing $321,226 while the state is picking up 80 percent of the $897,203, paying $575,977.

Watson was optimistic about the district’s financial outlook. He had state department of education deputy commissioner Dale Dennis review Peabody-Burns budget. Dennis said that it was one of three budgets in the state where he was unable to suggest any improvements.

However, Watson is wary of future cuts coming from the state in April after a likely governor regime change.

In other business:

  • A negotiation team was selected. Barry Peter, Tony Zappone, and Julie Ensminger will return to the team.
  • A gift of $500 for the Adventure program, from Lyle and Ann Leppke, was accepted.
  • A trip for the Peabody-Burns High School FFA chapter to Indianapolis for the FFA National Convention Oct. 19 through 24 was approved.
  • The board discussed options for the investment of the Litton/Kliewer estate. The district was left 80 acres of land in the Litton/Kliewer will. The land went for $132,000 at an auction July 6. The will stipulated that the money from the sale of land go to be used to establish a scholarship for a student working toward an agricultural sciences or pre-veterinary degree. The board discussed investing the money in a Mid-Kansas Community Foundation, in CDs with Peabody State Bank, or Mid-Kansas Cooperative. The board tabled a decision for another month.

The next meeting will be 7p.m. Sept. 13 at the central office.

Last modified Aug. 12, 2010

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