Council Bluffs Community School District taxpayers will see a slight decrease in the district’s levy under a budget approved Tuesday by the district’s board of education.
The district’s budget for the 2020-21 school-year includes a decline from $17.05 per $1,000 of taxable valuation to $16.99 per $1,000.
The budget outlines $39,791,591 in expenditures, including $32,921,910 from the general fund, $4,996,929 from the physical plant and equipment fund, $1.7 million from the management fund and $1,172,752 from the debt service fund, according to board materials.
The Iowa Legislature has approved a 2.3% increase in allowable growth for K-12 schools — which is an improvement from recent years, said Dean Wilson, chief financial officer. With the district’s enrollment increase of 68 students for the present school year, the district will see a jump of $1.9 million in state funding.
However, the district is facing an additional $1.1 million in the cost of compensation for employees and a $110,000 increase in transportation costs, he said.
If consumer spending doesn’t rebound soon enough, the district might not receive as much revenue from the one-cent sales tax for schools next year, board member Troy Arthur said.
Savings achieved included $617,000 from “reallocating staff resources,” Superintendent Vickie Murillo said.
“We were able to plan for savings in next year’s budget by reallocating some of our staff resources, primarily in the Teacher Leader Compensation program,” she said. “There will be no layoffs.”
The district will also save $250,000 by skipping 1.5 monthly payments to the district’s self-insurance fund (down from two months for the current fiscal year), Wilson said.
Board member Kyle McGlade said he was glad to see the district reducing its “insurance holidays,” and asked Wilson how long it would take to eliminate them. Wilson told the board during its previous meeting that he wanted to do that.
“I would like to do it over a three- or four-year period, but a lot of variables could affect that,” Wilson said.
The board took another step on paying employees during school closures. It authorized the superintendent to pay teacher and paraeducator substitutes their typical rates for days they were previously scheduled to work during the closure from March 17 through April 14.
Following the meeting, board President David Coziahr assured employees that the board would continue to take care of them if the shutdown continued beyond April 14.
“As you may know, the board of education passed two resolutions during a special meeting on March 15 that provided all Council Bluffs Community School District employees uninterrupted pay during the scheduled four-week closure,” Coziahr said. “The board is prepared to vote on a four-week extension of that resolution during the April 14 board of education meeting.
“While we don’t know yet how long school will be closed, we want all employees to know how much we appreciate them, and we don’t want any of you to be worried about your paycheck as you stay home, care for your own family and remain healthy and well.”