Tenative tax levy approved


The St. Joseph-Ogden High School Board passed its tentative tax levy at the November meeting.
The total levy amount represents an increase over the 2011 extension of 3.25 percent, however Superintendent Jim Acklin said in reality it will not be that much of an increase.
"Based on what the Champaign County Assessor is telling me, we should see an increase in our EAV of only .31 percent," he said. "However, the average increase over the last five years has been 4.2 percent and last year's was 1.7 percent. Acklin said the district sets the levy based on the possibility that the EAV will increase by 5 percent.
The district held a truth in taxation hearing in December.
Acklin said the district anticipates having $124,000 in sales tax revenue that can be used for real estate tax abatement.
The district has abated nearly $204,000 over the last two years from the Bond and Interest Levy.
"That is money we have saved our tax payers," Acklin said.
Acklin said the final tax rate on an extension of $3,489,558 and an EAV of 167.0 million would be 2.0311, however an EAV of 169.7 million would only generate around $3.24 million in revenue for an actual tax rate close to 1.93.
The district is at 1.97 this year.
"I've been within a penny every year," Acklin said. 'We don't want to leave local  money on the table."
In other news, the board voted to accept the extended warranty offered by Duce Construction to cover any possible problems that may arise in the future regarding the absence of the designed expansion joints around the perma-columns on each of the buildings constructed by Broeren-Russo.
Duce Construction didn't feel the lack of expansion joins would cause any major problems. The board also approved changes to the science curriculum. These changes include adding a prerequisite for physics which requires students to get a C in Chemistry. The science curriculum will also change with natural science being no longer offered.
The board also decided not to enter into a performance contract.
"It is the feeling of the building committee that the district should address our facility needs without going through the process of performance contracting," Acklin said.
The district will work with an engineer to access the buildings needs.
Also at the meeting, the district officially voted to leave the Sangamon Valley Conference for the 2014 school year.
SJO will be joining a new Okaw Valley Conference with Unity, Monticello, Maroa-Forsyth, Rantoul and St. Thomas More.
Brooks said at this time there are no other schools who are opting to join the conference.
Acklin also gave the board an update on payments regarding the bus barn fire and building replacement.
Acklin said the district has been told that there are $130,000 worth of code related upgrades that had to be done on the buildings.
The insurance is supposed to cover the upgrades but the district has yet to receive the money.
"We have been paid in full for the building and contents," Board President Les Hoveln said. "We are just talking about code upgrades and the cost of what we had versus what we need."
The board voted to withhold partial payment from Broeren Russo Construction until the insurance company payment comes.

Categories (2):News, Education

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