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School Board hears update on state funding
An overview of the 2013 legislative session was one of the most discussed items at the Tri-City United School Board meeting held Monday, July 8. Business Manager Robin Pikal and new Superintendent Teri Preisler highlighted some of the legislation that will affect the district in the upcoming school years.
Pikal told the board that the good news is that there will be an increase in the per student rate from $5,224 to $5,302 in the 2014 fiscal year. However, the percentage that is funded per student will decrease slightly. For instance, the district has been receiving 1.3 percent (or pupil units) of that amount per high school student. Next year, however, that will decrease to 1.2 percent.
In addition to the per pupil rate, Pikal said one of the biggest changes in legislative funding is that kindergarten will now be fully funded for all day instruction. Kindergartners used to be funded at .612 of that per student rate, but now the district will receive 1.0 or all of the $5,302 per student.
Board Chair Liz Krocak commented that even with the ups and downs of the pupil units, the district will come out ahead in the end.
Preisler then explained that the legislature is requiring districts to set aside two percent of basic revenue for staff development, with fewer restrictions on how that money could be spent. She was in favor of the requirement and added that it could also be used for evaluation of staff.
The next point she briefly discussed was operating levy equalization, calling it the most confusing part of the legislation but also the most publicized. She said it allows districts with a voter approved levy in place to adjust the levied amount.
“We have no plans to do that at this point,” Preisler said. “It would not benefit us or our tax payers.”
Finally, she went over Striving for the World’s Best Workforce, a policy change to increase student achievement. She praised the school board for their work on the district’s strategic plan, saying it fits perfectly with the required legislation by implementing third grade literacy goals.
Preisler showed the board the anticipated enrollment numbers for the upcoming school year, saying that compared to last year they are fairly consistent. Overall, enrollment looked to increase from 1,757 students to 1,851 (+94).