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Mill rate set to fall slightly in 2020-21 budget

Cadott School Board Annual Meeting

The mill rate for the 2020-21 budget for the Cadott School District, is set for a slight decline, after it came to a vote during an annual meeting Oct. 19.

Community voters were presented with a budget summary from the previous two years, as well as a proposed budget for 2020-21.

Sue Shakal, director of finance, said the proposed increase in expenditures from the prior year, is 1.51 percent.

“Which is not a lot,” said Shakal. “We have done a good job of holding our expenses down.”

The total school levy proposed was $5,010,573, an increase of 5.86 percent over the previous year. The proposed mill rate is 12.01 percent, slightly under the prior year’s 12.09 percent.

“The reason it’s less, is because the value of our property tax went up, which helped drive the mill rate down,” said Shakal.

Kathy VanderMolen, community member, asked what the student population is this year, compared to previous years.

Jenny Starck, district administrator, says the district is down nine students.

“I just would like to thank the school board for trying to keep the expenses down,” said VanderMolen. “With all of the COVID that’s going on and all the expenses that are related to this, and all of our taxpayers are feeling the hurt.”

VanderMolen says everything the school board can do to help the taxpayers and help feed the kids, is appreciated.

In the superintendent’s report, Starck gave a brief overview of how school revenue works and how the district tries to leverage that. Starck showed the three tiers of aid – primary, secondary and tertiary aid – and noted the Cadott district is aided in all three tiers.

“Expenses that qualify, which are most of them, we receive state aid back in the next budget year,” said Starck.

Starck says the district tries to plan out a year or two, in terms of budgeting, even though the budget is annual.

“Our goal is to maximize the state aid, while still having that mill rate inch down,” said Starck.

In the president’s report, school board president Rod Tegels updated the community on the larger maintenance projects completed throughout the year. He also noted Starck received a 20 percent performance bonus, based upon her annual goal achievement, with each goal weighted.

VanderMolen asked why 20 percent, and if it was comparable with other districts. Tegels says the incentives are meant to encourage Starck to do the best she can for the kids and he does not know how it compares to other districts. He said a smaller percentage would be worth almost nothing, by the time taxes are figured in.

Tegels says the school board’s goal is to get the district moving, to close the gap.

“Financial incentives is a way to do that,” said Starck.

Following the informational portion of the meeting, community members voted to authorize the school tax levy for $5,010,573, as presented earlier.

Community members also voted during the meeting, to keep the lunch prices and salaries of school board members the same as the previous year.

As a notice to the public, the next annual meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 18, 2021.

The school board also held a special meeting to approve the tax levy and mill rate, as voted on during the annual meeting.