The Lawrence school board raised its mill levy by .685 mill on Monday night and approved a $147.3 million budget for the 2009-2010 school year. The increase, directly related to a decrease in the assessed valuation of property, brings the district’s mill levy to 58 mills.
The capital outlay mill levy will remain at 6 mills instead of the maximum of 8, which was the figure published. This fund is for projects related to buildings and facility improvements and cannot be spent on items that fall under the general fund, like teacher salaries.
“It makes us nervous, but it is manageable,” said Superintendent Rick Doll. “We do understand the climate that we’re in.”
The motion to keep the capital outlay mill levy at 6 was a 4-3 decision, with board members Mark Bradford, Mary Loveland and Marlene Merrill opposing and board President Scott Morgan and members Rich Minder, Bob Byers and Vanessa Sanburn voting in favor.
“Holding it at 6 makes a statement. We’ll have to cut. We’ll have to slow down,” Morgan said. “We just want to keep that support out there. It’s just one of those intangibles that we’re playing with.”
A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The board has cut $2.5 million from the budget already and was able to avoid further cuts after a state quirk in counting full-time students allowed the district to include virtual school students for one year in a three-year average, resulting in an extra $1.6 million.
The board was presented with a list of capital outlay projects that have been requested by building principals and other district personnel. With the lower mill levy, there will be less money for those projects.
Athletic facility updates
The rain just will not go away and that means delays on the upgrades at the outdoor athletic facilities at both high schools.
“We have to keep in mind that in June and July we’ve had 13 inches of rain,” said Chief Operations Officer Frank Harwood. “There are some things that are significantly behind.”
Those projects include the new parking lot at Lawrence High. Sophomores return to school on Wednesday and the other two grades will join them for classes Thursday. Harwood said it will be a little tight on Thursday and Friday because the lot will have the same number of spaces available as last year, but by next Monday, there should be another 250 parking spots ready.
The other main project that is behind is the new tennis courts, located at the Lawrence Virtual School site. Harwood said if work started today, it would still take 56 days to complete the facility.
“We left the tennis courts there and didn’t get started on the new ones until the rain really got started,” he said.
The LHS soccer field will probably not be completed until mid-September, so the team will be practicing at Holcom and can use the football field for games.
The restroom plan at LHS has also been changed. The new plan includes a building on the south side of the football field that would hold restrooms and concessions. Another smaller building for restrooms will be on the northwest corner.
A plan for press boxes at both football sites was presented but the board did not make a decision on whether to approve the contract.