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M-P School Board reviews proposed funding legislation

Posted 2/18/13 (Mon)

The Mobridge-Pollock School Board discussed various legislative proposals and approved the 2013-14 School Year calendar at their regular monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 11.
Supt. Tim Frederick told the board that Gov. Dennis Daugaard is proposing a three percent increase in the per student allocation. If approved, the three percent increase would bring the per student allocation to $4,626.25.
The per student allocation was just over $4,804 in fiscal year 2010, but was cut by about 10 percent in 2011. “We are still far from that 2010 (fiscal year) figure,” he told the board. However, he added that the proposal would mean about $89,110 in new monies to the district next year.
The per student allocation is funds that a district can use to support the general fund budget and is comprised of local effort (tax dollars) and state aid. For the past year, district taxes supplied about 25 percent of the amount, with state aid supplying the other 75 percent. For next year, it is projected that the district’s local effort will be about 28 percent of the total amount.
Opt out funds, which generally go into a district’s general fund, as well as tax levies for the other funds (capital outlay, special ed, pension, etc.) are in addition to the amount raised to meet the per student allocation.
Several other legislative bills were discussed, including SB 210, which would repeal the current production method of valuing agricultural land and replace it with valuation based on sales of comparable properties (the process which had been previously used).
The first day of school for the 2013-14 School Year will be Wednesday, Aug. 21, under the calendar approved at the meeting. The first semester will end on Friday, Dec. 20. School will resume on Jan. 6, following Christmas vacation. The last day is scheduled for May 19, 2014. Graduation is set for Sunday, May 18.
In other business, the board:
• Received a check for $9,003.29 as part of a dividend refund program offered through EMC Insurance Companies, the district’s property and liability insurance carrier. Key Insurance of Mobridge is the local agent for the insurance company, as well as acting as the managing agent for EMC Insurance in the state. The total dividend payout this year was $242,135.79 to all schools participating in the South Dakota School Program. Jesse Konold presented the check on behalf of Key Agency.
• Heard Supt. Frederick commend the special education staff for the great job they did in the recent review. He also thanked school staff, and in particular Pam Wells and Marty Looyenga, for organizing the 1st Annual “Smarts Challenge” that was held recently at the Scherr-Howe Events Center and the music department for the great job they did in hosting the Small Group Music Contest.
• Reviewed the findings of and moved to accept the 2011-12 school audit. The auditors had three minor suggestions, such as segregation of duties, which are fairly common in smaller districts which can’t afford to or choose not to  hire additional staff to do the separate tasks.
• Moved to advertise for bids on a Mowing and Maintenance Contract for 2013. The contract is basically the same as last year’s contract.
• Approved a resolution authorizing a joint powers agreement with Walworth County. The resolution will allow Toby Morris, a financial consultant, to proceed with looking into refinancing the bond the district has for the construction expenses of the new high school. Morris may be able to refinance the bonds at a lower interest rate. Only taxpayers in the former Mobridge School District are taxed for repaying the bond, and refinancing would not affect that. The Walworth County Commission had already approved the resolution.
• Approved the first reading of Section E: Support Personnel and Services of the district’s handbook. The policy is on the district’s website, and patrons of the district are invited to review the policy and provide input to the administration and/or board members. Plans are to review and approve the revised policy at the March board meeting.
• Approved the 2013-16 Technology Plan. The plan is reviewed yearly and updated pursuant to equipment that has been purchased and needed professional development. The plan has already been approved by the SD Department of Education.
• Received and reviewed reports from all three principals.
• Heard that, as of the meeting on Monday, current board members Gilbert Mickelson and Eric Stroeder had turned in petitions for the two open board positions. The last date to file a petition is Feb. 22.


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