Board to discuss capital outlay

By The Mercury

The USD 383 school board will start preparing financially for next year with a capital outlay discussion at its meeting Wednesday.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Robinson Education Center. Before the meeting, the board will have a work session to discuss common core standards at 5:30 p.m.

The board approved a levy of 50.39 mills last year, which was a decrease of 1.235 mills from the previous year. The levy included 6 mills for capital outlay.

The board increased that levy during the past two school years in order to replace the Amanda Arnold HVAC system. The board approved starting the project at its March 6 meeting.

The board will also vote on final approval of increasing elementary teachers’ planning time. During its March 6 meeting, the board accepted starting a two-year process of increasing professional development, collaboration and planning time for elementary teachers.

Next year, elementary teachers would have eight days of professional development, eight early releases for collaboration and 330 minutes of planning time per week. Currently, there are five early release days, three professional development days and 300 planning minutes per week.

The estimated cost of that change is $128,800. If board members decide to raise that amount through an increase in the property tax, it would equate to about 0.22 mills based on the current assessed valuation.

That would translate to an increase of slightly more than $4 per year for the owner of an average $175,000 home.

The initial changes will be reflected in the 2013-14 school year calendar, which is up for a first reading vote during Wednesday’s meeting.

The board will also vote on final approval of the Bishop Stadium turf project, which would be in place by the start of next school year.

The administration recommendation is for Double E Construction of Gas to conduct the site work. The turf being considered — AstroTurf 3D — is the same surface used on the football and baseball fields at Kansas State.

The project will be initially funded through a five-year $750,000 lease-purchase agreement with Commerce Bank. The district’s semi-annual payments will total $804,235.30 after interest.

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