The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

February 28, 2013

Clinton School Board wrestles with budget

Schools work to create budget prior to knowing revenue stream from state

CLINTON — Caught between a goal to lower taxes and the uncertainty of state funding, Clinton School Board members are grappling with a conditional $17 levy for next fiscal year.

During the board’s budget workshop on Wednesday, Chief Financial Officer Jan Culbertson suggested publishing the district’s fiscal year 2014 budget with the $17 levy with the stipulation that it be lowered once there is clear direction from the Iowa Legislature on allowable growth.  

By law, the state legislature is required to pass allowable growth (the increase in funding per student) within the first 30 days of the session. Setting allowable growth for the next two years is being held up by Gov. Terry Branstad’s education reform package. So far, the House has passed a 2 percent allowable growth and education reform. The Senate has approved a 4 percent rate, but is still working with education reform. In the meantime, school districts such as Clinton struggle as they prepare their budgets to be certified by April 15.   

The increase from a $16.63 levy is based on the uncertainty of allowable growth but also the district’s $893,843 special education deficit. Last year, the Clinton School District had to pay for 93 special education students in other districts. Some of these students cost the district upwards of $20,000. Without a levy to make up for that deficit, the levy would be $16.04.

Despite the stipulation that the levy be lowered once state funding becomes clear, board members struggled with increase.

“With the sewer and the garbage and everything else, and they’re talking water going up another 10 percent, I don’t feel good about setting it at $17,” Board member Jack Wenzel said.

Also unclear for the district is the valuation of area industries, which would carry additional impact. Culbertson said while the levy can be lowered once it is published, it can’t be raised.

“I think board members have an obligation to look at what’s best for the school district. If you think that we can cut $190,000 out because of our reduced enrollment and then turn around and cut another $350,000 to keep the tax rate the same, that’s your decision. But I think in the long run you will regret tying yourself to that number until you know what all the numbers from the state are,” Culbertson said.

The statement board members made four years ago when the levy was moved from $15.23 to $17.13 also stuck out to some board members as they discussed the levy rate they would like to publish.

“At that point you didn’t have 93 kids that you were paying tuitions on. We didn’t have all of the technologies that we’re required to do. You didn’t know you were going to be losing 100 and some kids over those years. There’s a lot of things that have changed between those times,” Culbertson said.

Board member Devin Guillory favored tentatively publishing the levy at $17 until all the financial pieces are known.

“It’s a strategy to protect the programs, revenues, the assets of the district. That’s all it is. In the end when you have all your information, then you make a decision. It’s like saying we’re not going to let it go up no matter what happens.’ Well, let’s find out what’s going to happen and then make an educated or an informed decision.”

School board members will decide what levy rate to publish during the regular board meeting on Monday. A public hearing on the budget will be held March 25.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-23-14 Clinton Middle School Forum Photo 2 Leadership Team field concerns from parents CLINTON -- Progress on the new Clinton Middle School continues to move forward and as the deadline for completion draws nearer, school district officials and staff members are interested to know how the community is feeling about the project. What th

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • O'Neill presents CBA terms CLINTON - Public support for emergency responders has grown over the two weeks since the Clinton City Council tabled its collective bargaining resolution with city firefighters. The matter was still unresolved by the end of Tuesday's regular council

    April 23, 2014

  • Man charged in meth case

    A Clinton man has been charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine.

    Timothy W. Atkinson, 35, 1419 Honey Lane, was arrested Sunday after Clinton police executed a search warrant at his residence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Judge denies guilty plea withdrawal

    A Clinton County District Court judge has denied a man's attempt at withdrawing a guilty plea.

    Eric R. Hook, 45, 900 S. 10th St., was sentenced last week to no more than five years in prison for willful injury causing bodily injury, a class D felony. He also was given a sentence of no more than two years in prison for domestic abuse assault, second offense, to be served concurrently.

    April 23, 2014

  • Medication drop boxes available

    Although no formal event is planned in Clinton County for Saturday’s nationwide Medication Take Back Day, area officials are reminding residents this week about permanent drop boxes at area law enforcement agencies.
    Unused or expired medications can be disposed of during normal business hours in the lobbies of four police departments in Clinton County — Camanche Police Department, 819 South Washington Blvd.; Clinton County Sheriff’s office, 241 Seventh Ave. North; Clinton Police Department, 116 Sixth Ave. South; DeWitt Police Department, 606 Ninth St.

    April 23, 2014

  • Legal Services photo New legal services agreement proceeds CLINTON - By one vote, the Clinton City Council voted for Lynch Dallas over local firm Frey, Haufe and Current as its next city attorney service. On Tuesday, in a show of solidarity, the council was unanimous, officially hiring the Cedar Rapids group

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Online Center hosts blood drive CLINTON -- Ashford University's Online Center will host a community blood drive from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at 1390 19th Avenue Northwest inside the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center donor bus. To donate, contact Amanda Pearson at

    April 23, 2014

  • Building to feature generator CLINTON -- After more than seven years of planning, the Clinton County Administration building is getting a new 300-kilowatt diesel-powered Caterpillar generator installed on the campus allowing it to become a certified emergency shelter and warming

    April 23, 2014

  • Northeast Middle and Senior High schools Northeast Middle and Senior High schools have released their third-quarter honor roll: Seventh Grade Keaton Bormann, Keenan Bredekamp, Faith Brown, *Jarrett Brown, Logan Butler, *Ty Cain, *Payton Claussen, Jalyn Cooper, Julian Creger, *Jacob Crow, Au

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23-14 Paul Blair photo Blair named Bridgeview's executive director CLINTON -- Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center's Board of Directors recently announced the appointment of Paul Blair as the new executive director of Bridgeview, which is a Gateway-area provider of comprehensive mental health services. Blair e

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook
Clinton
Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.