DEARBORN, Mo. — The North Platte Board of Education didn’t miss a beat with a new superintendent at the head of the table at its regular meeting on Wednesday, July 15 at North Platte Junior High School. Karl Matt presided over his first session as the head of the district after Dr. Jeff Sumy’s retirement became official on June 30. Matt was named as the new superintendent in December following Sumy’s retirement announcement in November.
Matt’s first action was presenting a damage report after lightning struck the air conditioning unit on the roof of the high school gym during a severe thunderstorm on Monday, July 6. Matt said the repair bid came in at $16,265 while the replacement bid came in at $75,000. He said he was still waiting on another bid but was advised that the number could be as low as $45,000 for replacement.
The board tabled the decision until the second bid came in and the pros and cons of repair or replacement could be fully weighed. The current unit is 18 years old and was repaired following another lightning strike in 2011.
Matt also gave an update to the 2016 assessed valuation, which is projected to increase by $4.2 million in the district to a total of $60.3 million. The increase in valuation lowered the tax rate ceiling the district can levy from $3.75 per $100 to $3.72 based on calculations from the state auditor’s office.
The district can set the levy at any amount up to the ceiling which will be decided at a public hearing during the board’s regular meeting in August. With the passage of the full Proposition C waiver in April the district no longer has to roll back its levy from the voter-approved ceiling.
“If your assessed valuation goes up a significant amount, it’s part of the law that the ceiling could be lowered by the state auditor’s office,” Matt said. “It will be calculated by their office. It’s basically so taxes don’t go up too much in any particular year. The ceiling rate that they have that is our starting point is $3.72.
“Then the board will decided where they want to set it at.”
The board also approved a 5-cent raise on the price of lunch and breakfast, bringing the cost of a full-price lunch to $2.00 for students — $2.50 for adults — and full-price breakfast to $1.45. The district is budget to pay OPAA! $338,231 in the 2015-16 budget for meals, and the projected revenues from purchases and federal aid is $250,000.
“We had a loss of a significant amount of money in food service last year,” Matt said. “Five cents isn’t going to make that up, but I think it gets us closer combined with the reimbursement rates (from the USDA) to where we’re actually even.”
The board also revised the 2015-16 budget to reflect the end-of-year fund totals from 2014-14 fiscal year.
The budget still calls for $7.5 million in revenue and 7.3 million in expenditures to create a small surplus. Matt said the surplus is important so the district can have some reserves and not have to utilize a tax-anticipation note at the end of the year.
Those short-term loans are utilized to make December payments ahead of tax collection in January. The district ended up not needing the tax anticipation note last year but took it out as a precaution.
“It’s important for the district to stay financially strong,” Matt said. “We need to build our reserves a little bit to get back to where we want to be. We got a tax anticipation loan last year, and we want to get to where we don’t need that type of thing.”
North Platte will decide its tax levy during a special hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19 in the North Platte Junior High library. The board’s regularly scheduled meeting will follow at the same location.