Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Northeast advertises 2020 budget numbers


The Northeast School Corp. Board of Trustees met on Monday evening to hear public comment during a bargaining hearing and a Teacher Retirement Fund hearing. 

Collective bargaining hearings can be legally held from Sept. 15 through Nov. 15. 

Without any public comment, the hearing was closed.

Following the bargaining hearing, there was a hearing regarding the Teacher Retirement Fund.

“Anyone who was hired after 1995, then 7.5% of their salary went back to the state of Indiana to help fund the Teacher Retirement Program,” Superintendent Mark Baker explained.

Due to a surplus of funds, legislation now requires only 5.5% to be paid to the state. This leaves NESC with a savings of $49,913 ($37,170 from teachers and $6,745 from administrators hired after 1995). 

NESC has chosen to use these amounts “to enhance employee compensation proportionately to the ‘effective’ employee groups.”

This means these funds will be used for collective bargaining among the aforementioned groups. 

The board also adopted the Capital Projects Plan. Future projects include drainage, painting, replacing carpet and ceiling tiles, replacing windows, sidewalk repairs, HVAC repairs, resurfacing a parking lot and replacing the roof at Northeast North Elementary School. 

The Bus Replacement Plan was also adopted. Buses must be kept and maintained for 12 years. Buses 34 and 35, which are mid-buses, and bus 18 are on the list to be replaced. 

Baker presented the 2020 budget. 

The budget is built upon an estimation of the number of students within the corporation. As of the time of the meeting, there were 800 students within the NESC. 

Baker explained that there were few changes between the 2019 and 2020 budget. 

The 2020 budget estimate is as follows: Rainy day, $500,000; Education, $5,053,600 (the exact about that was approved for the 2019 budget); Debt Service, $1,230,789; School Penison Debt, $343,008; and Operations, $4,152,290. 

This makes the total 2020 budget estimate $11,279,687, which is approximately $413,000 more than the 2019 approved budget of $10,866,291. 

The maximum estimated funds to be raised for 2020 include $1,303,160 for Debt service, $310,650 for School Pension Debt and $2,911,810 for Operations, making the total tax levy $4,525,620. The current tax levy is $3,269,168.

The actual assessed value for 2019 was $367,446,117. For 2020, the estimated assessed value is $312,000,000. 

The advertised rates are as follows: Debt Service, $0.4177;  School Pension Debt, $0.0996; and Operations, $0.9333, for a total tax rate of $1.4506. This is a slight increase from the advertised tax rate of $1.3571 for 2019. 

“Nobody likes to pay taxes, but I can honestly sit here and say I think we’ve been good stewards for many years — before I came here,” Baker said. “So we’ve just been able to carry that on.”

The budget will be adopted at the regularly scheduled meeting in October. 

Prior to the hearings, Mike Drake presented the board with checks from Casey’s Kicks. The following donations were received: Northeast East Elementary, $522; Northeast Middle School, $414; Northeast North Elementary $759; and Northcentral High School, $831. 

Following the public hearings, the board accepted the following resignations: Sandra Cleaveger, NCHS band and choir director; Colton Stevenson, assistant football coach; Austin Miller, seasonal grounds; and Jim Larger, junior high track coach. 

The following hires were approved as well: Katherine Case, NCHS band and choir director; Angel Pritchard, NCHS cheer sponsor; Shawna Pritchard, NCHS assistant cheer sponsor; Annie Bedwell, second assistant junior varsity girls basketball coach. 

Michael stone was approved as a part-time seasonal grounds employee and Amber Cundiff, Heather Deleon, Camil Catlin and Heather Martindale were approved as substitute teachers. 

Transportation Director J.T. Roberts discussed the safety of the current bus routes. Roberts said, starting last year, bus drivers began picking up students on the driver’s door side. 

This comes as a safety measure following accidents in which students in other areas of the state have been injured and killed while crossing streets to board the bus.

“We have the best group of drivers in the state,” Roberts said.

Roberts added that he feels confident all routes are up to code and that the buses are well-maintained.

In other business:

  • The board accepted the Teacher Appreciation Grant bi-laws and policies for the NESC with a new amendment — “the corporation shall not allocate a percentage of the Teacher Appreciation Grant funds received to provide a supplemental award to teachers with less than five years of service who are rated ‘highly effective’ or ‘effective.’”

  • Due to a growing auto-shop program, there will be a course fee of $15 for the 2019-2020 school year to cover the cost of safety glasses, earplugs and respirator masks, which the students will be allowed to keep. There will also be a two-dollar increase to oil changes at the school’s shop.

  • The following field trips were approved: Eighth-grade raft trip, Sept.24; NENE kindergarten classes to Apple Hill Orchard in Bruceville, Sept. 13; North Central  Ambassadors to attend the Choral Festival at White River Valley High School, Oct.1; Jeff Ransford, group to Ivy Tech’s “Cob Cog” event, Sept. 27; NEEE third and fourth graders to Mango Cave, Oct. 2; NCHS honors students to St. Mary’s for college, Oct. 2; and NCHS juniors and seniors to St. Mary’s for a career fair, Oct. 1.

  • Board member Don Ransford commended those who helped to make the Wonder Lab possible after he spent time volunteering. He also publically thanked the Thunderbird Fire Protection Territory for their donation of 1,000 gallons of water used to water some of the school’s new property. 

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