Berne-Knox-Westerlo district cuts its tax levy
Noah Zweifel is reporting for The Altamont Enterprise the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Board of Education has adopted a proposed $23.7 million budget for the 2021-22 school year, which includes a 2 percent tax-levy decrease as well as increased spending on instruction. The spending plan was adopted following a unanimous vote at the board’s April 19 meeting. In addition to the budget, the district's May 18 ballot will include an uncontested board election and a proposition to purchase three 72-passenger and two 28-passenger buses. Superintendent Timothy Mundell said the tax-levy cut was made possible by an increase in Foundation Aid, which is being expanded this year as the state moves toward fully funding court-required support by 2023. The increase in Foundation Aid will give the district an additional $194,000 to work with this year. Mundell said, “I’ll remind the community that we are overfunded in Foundation Aid, and the formula over the next three years may not yield any additional dollars.” The district will also receive just under $1.6 million through the federal American Rescue Plan, with four years to spend it. “It will be used to supplement … not supplant,” Mundell said, adding that once received the money will be placed in a Special Aids fund, not the general fund. The district’s 2021-22 proposed spending totals $23,672,248, an increase of approximately 1 percent over the current budget. It reflects increases in the instruction, transportation, and central administration categories. Instruction will see the greatest increase — approximately 5 percent from last year “A good portion of that is having to budget for additional out-of-district placement students … and the rest is salaries,” Mundell said. Read the full story in The Altamont Enterprise.