R-III School board increases levy, desire to stay ahead of growth
Superintendent Mark Penny presenting Dan Busekrus with a certificate of achievement from the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) for his completion of the state required Board Member Training Program. During the month of July, Mr. Busekrus completed 16 hours of training via online courses and classroom instruction sponsored by MSBA.
The summer came to an end for students and staff alike in the Lincoln County R-III School District as classes began on August 15. The Lincoln County R-III School Board held their monthly meeting on August 20 just days after the start of the new school year. Administrators were able to report on the beginning of the new school year and according to them school has started without a hitch. Perhaps the good behavior and the smooth transition from summer break to school are due to the unfamiliarity of schedules, teachers, friends, and new classes. However, the administrators are more than willing to give the credit to the teachers and all of the hard work they put into preparing for the 2013-2014 school year.
At the meeting Tuesday night, school board member Dan Busekrus was presented a certificate by Superintendent Penny from the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) for his completion of the state required Board Member Training Program. During the month of July.
The school board also held its annual public hearing for tax rate establishment at Tuesday’s monthly meeting. During this meeting Mr. Penny shared news that the assessed value of the R-III School District had been raised from $414,254,502 to $419,882,380. According to LJ Hart & Company, the levy could be set as high as $1.32, but Penny recommended the debt service levy be increased by $.15 from $1.11 to $1.26. Penny believes the board needed to take action. “The R-III District cannot wait for a growth in tax-base to catch up with the student growth that arrived years ago when it comes to addressing the needs for a new middle school. This will allow the district to fulfill its Long Range Plan to address student needs and pay down debt faster,” he said.
Troy Middle School is the largest middle school in the state with 1,489 students currently enrolled. After an extended discussion, the board unanimously voted in favor of the increase. The increases raise the overall tax rate from $4.61 to $4.76 and will cost on average $28.50 more annually per $100,000 of assessed value.
Overall numbers at the R-III district are up with 28 more students currently enrolled in the district than last year. The district currently serves 6,232 students Kindergarten through 12 grade and 6,411 students Pre-Kindergarten through 12 grade. Here are some of the larger figures to show just how big the Lincoln County R-III School District is becoming. Troy Buchanan High School has 1,397 students, Troy Middle School has 1,489 students and the Ninth Grade Center has 528 students.
The 2013 Annual Performance Report for the Lincoln County R-III School District was recently released and was presented to board members. The report proved that the district, while growing, is still able to continue its pursuit to becoming one of the top districts in the state, or as Superintendent Penny says, “We want to be the premier school district in the state.” The annual report is based on the MSIP 5 Standards. Those standards are academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career ready, attendance, and graduation rate. This year the Lincoln County R-III School District received 124.5 out of a possible 140 points or 88.9 percent, up from last year’s 84.3 percent. While this shows significant improvement over last year’s score Mr. Penny believes there is still much room for improvement as his goal is to reach 90 percent.
The final matter of the meeting was approving a resolution on House Bill 253. House Bill 253. If passed, this would reduce state revenue by $800 million annually and up to $1.2 billion as soon as Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act. This would directly relate to the Lincoln County R-III School District losing $2.1 million annually and has already caused the district to lose two percent of this year’s state aid payment. Governor Jay Nixon has already vetoed the bill earlier this year and the state legislature will have the ability to override the governor’s veto on Sept. 11. The Lincoln County R-III School Board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution, which urges the General Assembly to sustain the veto.