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Mitchell Board of Education approves 2021-22 budget

Budget reflects conservative approach while maintaining, improving programs, superintendent says

Mitchell School Board File.JPG
Mitchell Board of Education (Republic file photo)

The Mitchell Board of Education on Monday approved the 2021-22 K-14 budget for the Mitchell School District, paving the way to further enhance the quality of education in the district, according to school leaders.

Joe Graves, superintendent for the Mitchell School District, said the budgeting process is long but vital to bringing the best possible educational experience to students and faculty at the school. This year's budget should help continue that tradition.

"It means that our fiscal house remains in order," Graves told the Mitchell Republic following the meeting. "We've been proactively planning ahead for things like the (new) high school because it's a very difficult project. We've been conservative in our budgeting and accounting and it's gone very well. We've managed to expand our programming and increased quality while still maintaining a budget that is sound and supportive of the taxpayers."

The board approved by unanimous vote a budget that includes a $20,547,979 general fund, a $4,572,770 capital outlay fund, $914,911 food service budget and $5,056,047 in the special education fund. For Mitchell Technical College, the board approved a budget of $25,392,215 for the combined post-secondary funds.

Tax levies would be as follows: general fund, $1.409 per $1,000 ag valuation (maximum levies allowed); special education fund, $1.670 per $1,000 of total valuation (maximum allowed); capital outlay fund, $4,550,000 in taxes requested (or maximum that can be raised). The opt-out amount will be at zero.

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Steve Culhane, business manager for the Mitchell School District, said taxpayers may see a slight increase in the school portion of their property tax bill even though the school reduced its levy request this year. The increase would be do to increased valuation on owner-occupied property. With an increase in value, taxes may go up slightly even though the district lowered its levy request.

"The state levies taxes for owner-occupied land. They set the levies, and then (the levies) often get lowered. But what happens is the assessed valuation of the homeowner's property goes up, so even though the school levy is going to go down, because of the increase in assessed valuation, most likely most homeowners will see a small increase in the school portion of their tax bill," Culhane told the Republic.

Budget Supplements by Erik Kaufman on Scribd

In addition to the 2021-22 budget itself, the board also approved a number of budget supplements. Those included $842,665 in the general fund, $447,000 in the capital outlay fund, $20,000 in the special education fund, $2,000 in the food service fund and $250,000 in the food service fund. Culhane said the vast majority of the fund supplements were necessary due to increases in expenditures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Personnel

The board approved the following personnel moves:

  • The new certified hires of Kendra Clark, 7th assistant girls basketball coach, $1,857; Kimberly Bruguier, assistant marching band, $2,040 and Bethan Amundson, drumline, $2,346. All new certified hires are effective the 2021-22 school year.

  • The new classified hires of John Fitzier, paraeducator at Mitchell High School, $15 per hour/7.5 hours and Charlene Hilkemeier, paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School, $12.25 per hour/7.25 hours. Both classified hires are effective Aug. 18, 2021.

  • The transfers of Erin Miller, special education paraeducator at Longfellow Elementary School to computer aide/special education paraeducator at Longfellow Elementary School and Connie Tschoepe, special education paraeducator at L.B. Williams Elementary School to special education paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School. Both transfers are effective for the 2021-22 school year.

  • The resignations of Cassey Ver Hey, basketball cheer coach, effective 2021-22 school year and Scott Heide, maintenance, effective June 11, 2021.

Other business

Also at the meeting, the board is expected to:

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  • Approved the high school handbook for the 2021-22 school year.

  • Held a public hearing on the 2021-22 K-14 budgets of the Mitchell School District, including Mitchell Technical College.

  • Approved a resolution to adopt the 2021-22 K-14 budgets.

  • Heard board member reports.

  • Heard the superintendent’s report.

  • Heard public commentary.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for July 12.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at ekaufman@mitchellrepublic.com.
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