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District finances remain solid in the black

Cornell School Annual Meeting/Board Meeting

“I do that, because I know what you do and what you do other places to bring back to us,” he said.

Although three of the board members opposed the increase, the motion passed, with four in favor and three opposed.

During the regular meeting, the 2020-21 calendar was approved, with Good Friday off for students, which will be used as an in-service day for staff.

“That still gets us done by Memorial Day weekend,” said Schley.

There will be only one day of summer school next year, as the district didn’t have enough teacher contract days to start earlier. The unofficial start will be Monday, Aug. 31, which gives Cornell almost a full week of school before Labor Day.

Board clerk Eileen Sikora says she didn’t like just one day, and worries it won’t make much of a difference, as far as getting back into routine and building relationships with teachers. She also was concerned it would be hard to get kids to attend before the start of school.

“To me, one day, forget it,” she said.

Despite her concerns, Sikora was outvoted and the motion passed.

After several months of discussion, the GPA/class rank policy was also passed, where all classes will count toward a students’ GPA next year, even those taken online.

Also approved, was the hire of Erica Helland as a paraprofessional and high school girls basketball assistant coach; Jake Hall as the assistant high school boys basketball coach; Stacey Schroeder as the middle school girls basketball coach; and Austin Heiss as the speech language pathologist teacher.

During the regular meeting, Elliott reported the high school recently held a lockdown drill, in partnership with the Cornell Police Department.

“We did an excellent job, much better than we did a year ago,” said Hurt.

Students were instructed on what to do, to follow a staff The theme of the Cornell School annual meeting Oct. 28, was back in black, showing the district remains stable, financially.

“We don’t have cash issues…we don’t have to short-term borrow,” said superintendent Paul Schley. “The district’s in good financial standing.”

Going through numbers, Fund 10 (general fund) ended with $1,821,018.48, with revenues and other financing sources of $5,479,376.20. Meanwhile, Fund 46 (capital improvements) that was set up four years ago for future needs, has $3 million in its coffers.

“When it comes time to replace boilers, roofs, whatever, we have money to get that done,” said Schley.

The school tax levy, which was approved at the regular board meeting that followed, was set at $1,213,715, a 4.24 percent decrease from last year. The mill rate was also down from last year, with it set at 6.18.

“For the last several years, we’ve had the lowest tax rate,” said Schley. “When you have a low tax rate, high academics, that means bang for the buck.”

The meeting of electors also discussed raising the board members’ salaries from $150 per meeting, to $170 per meeting.

“Where are we in relationship to those around us?” asked high school principal Dave Elliott.

Schley said the salary is somewhere in the middle to high range, and has been the same for a couple years now.

“It really varies by district,” said Schley.

Schley said the district can’t pay an annual amount and a meeting amount, that it has to be one or the other. Elliott says the district doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of committee meetings, but that members are involved in a lot of organizations that affect the district positively – something they are not compensated for.

With that in mind, Elliott asked for members’ salaries to be raised.

member, who then makes a decision to evacuate, or stay and be ready to fight if they stay. Students and staff are made aware of all entries and exits, and afterward, Cornell Police Chief Brian Hurt talked to students about what he had witnessed and what authorities expect from them.

“Our students were very good, following directions incredibly well,” said Elliott. “I was very proud.”