The USD 503 Board of Education on Monday approved the 2019-2020 budget as published, dropping the mill levy this coming year.
Several years back the district refinanced two bond projects voters approved in years past, one for Parsons Middle School and the second for Parsons High School and the three elementary schools. Refinancing allowed for lower interest rates and savings to the district of $162,752.
The district is approaching the payoff of the bond and interest by September 2020. The reason the bond and interest is going down by 7 mills is because the district carried $1 million as a cushion in that account going back to 2012 and the district is now using that cushion to help pay what it owes.
With money that remains after paying off the bond, business manager Tonya Phillips said the district can leave the money there, if they have intention of entering into another bond in the next two to five years, or they can put it into the general fund or wherever for the district to use.
This year’s budget will consist of $10,193,725 in the general fund and $3,127,760 in the supplemental fund, an increase of $740,153 over last year.
The capital outlay mill levy will increase from 3.998 to 4.0 and local option budget mills levied will increase slightly from 17.460 to 17.880. Those increases would be almost unnoticeable to most taxpayers. What property taxpayers will notice is the large decrease in the mills levied for the consolidated bond and interest payments, from 13.050 to 5.676, as the district uses funds held in reserve to pay down the bond project as it nears its end in September of 2020.
The change in debt lowers the overall mill levy supporting the district from 54.508 to 47.556 mills. A mill is a $1 tax for every $1,000 in assessed value. The owner of a $50,000 home in Parsons will pay $40 less to support the school district.
Classified staff pay
Following meeting in executive session, the board adopted the classified staff pay scale as recommended by district administration.
The board had previously tabled a decision on the pay scale, which included 42-cent an hour in step increments, as classified staff gain experience and years on the job.
Board members thought the plan could be too costly to the district over time, and asked the district administration to provide examples of what other districts are doing and documentation of what a 25-cent and 30-cent an hour step increment would look like.
Monday, the board approved the pay scale for classified staff with a 40-cent an hour step increment.
Administrator and director pay
Teachers and classified staff were not the only ones to receive adjustments in their pay for this year. The board approved a 6.5% average pay increase for district directors’ and administrators’ salaries.
“Our board is trying to get them where they are receiving a more competitive wage with surrounding districts,” Superintendent Lori Ray said.
Ray did not have the current wages and new wages immediately available.
In other business, the board:
— Heard students return to school Thursday for half day of school.
— Heard the middle school open house is Monday at 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
— Heard the high school volleyball blue/gold scrimmage is at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
— Heard Aug. 30 is the PHS football jamboree at Fredonia at 6 p.m.
— Heard there is no school Sept. 2, Labor Day.
— Heard a request from Lou Martino to look into the budget for Steve Fienan’s building trades class as it appears very low.
— Accepted the resignation of Erik Lyons, sixth grade math teacher.
— Hired Amelia Garner, as bus monitor; Celeste Gatewood, district van driver; Adrian Hitchcock, pre-school aide; Kyle Hostetter, middle school assistant wrestling coach and high school assistant wrestling coach; Bert Smith as high school cashier and bus monitor; Tianne Wambganss as Guthridge fourth-grade teacher.