6/10/19 School Board Meeting Guide

What happened at last night’s school board meeting? I’m glad you asked! Here’s what I think you should know:

No Tax Increase Budget Passed

The board unanimously passed a $158 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year that does not raise taxes. The final vote follows months of detailed presentations and discussion of district needs and finances. The budget includes much-needed renovations and upkeep that has been deferred in recent years due to financial pressure, as well as hiring a new guidance counselor, psychologist, school nurse, English as a second language teacher, and learning support teacher to address the rapidly expanding special needs of the community’s kids. It also includes a new technology specialist to complement the district’s three-year investment in computers for all students.

How was the district able to achieve a budget with no tax increase despite rising costs in many areas? Chief financial officer Bob Saul explained there are three major factors that helped: 1) strong economic development in the district, 2) pension costs that have not risen as fast as in the recent past, and 3) healthcare costs that did not increase since last year. The documents related to the budget can be found here; watch the board discussion of the budget for yourself here.

If you want a more general overview of budget issues, check out my School Budget 101.

Discussion of Student Free Speech Rights

The administration has asked the board to revise several district policies. The policy governing student expression and free speech sparked the most discussion. I am interested in insuring that any revisions provide strong protections for the right of students to express themselves, even when their point of view might be unpopular. Text of the proposed changes available here; watch the discussion here. Final adoption of these policies won’t happen until the July 8th meeting.

Honoring a Perfect ACT Score

Sophomore Matt Magee was honored at the start of the meeting for achieving a perfect score on the ACT college-entrance test. This puts him in the top 0.3% of all high school students nationwide. Congratulations to Matt and his family on this remarkable achievement. Watch here.

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