Manila School Board to ask for millage

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Marshall Hughes, vice president with First Security Beardsley Public Finance, presented three tax increase options to fund a new high school facility at the Manila School Board meeting Thursday. The first option would increase the millage by 4.0 generating $5,500,000 for projects; option 2 is an increase of 4.7 new mills generating $6,000,000 for projects; and the third option is 5.8 new mills generating $6,770,000. All options included a request to refund the 11/1/2008 bonds and to extend the existing 11.7 mills through 2043.

Board members discussed in length the options.

Hughes also reviewed the district's annual financial review with an analysis of school years 2007-2008 through 2013-14.

He said the district has a great ending balance.

"You do a good job," Hughes said.

The district will be responsible for 30 percent of the total building project and state partnership funds could provide approximately 70 percent.

"How many classrooms are we getting for $20 million?" Johnny McCain, board member, said.

Superintendent Pam Castor said the square footage of the building project would be in guidelines with the state taking into consideration the district's projected enrollment.

Board member Tommy Wagner said anyone with homes valued at less than $40,000 would see no increase in their taxes because of the Homestead Act.

Board member Tracey Reinhart said he would like to know the income level of Manila residents based on the state average.

"I want to see how this increase will affect the people," Reinhart said.

McCain asked if the board had ever thought about selling some of the school farmland.

The school has 1,800 acres of land.

"We would have to come up with a way to replace the income," Board member Brandon Veach said.

"Let's take the millage increase to the voters to decide," Wagner said.

"It is our call what we ask for," Reinhart said.

"In reality, we have no more room for additional students," Wagner said. "We voted for a new high school and we are at the point now we have to decide how to fund it. I don't think the community will go for selling the land."

Board member Veach said the people who had talked to him are not in opposition to the building, but "they want us to use money wisely."

"The voters are going to decide once they see where this is going," Superintendent Castor said. "Their voice will be heard."

Wagner made a motion to go with the 4.7 mill increase to be placed on the ballot in a fall election.

Veach questioned if the project could be completed with these figures.

"We have gone into this project and it is time to let the people tell us what they want," Board member Jeremy Jackson said.

President Dan Robbins thanked everyone for their comments and asked for a vote on the motion for a request of 4.7 mills in a fall election for the construction of a new high school.

McCain, Wagner, Tony Crowell, Jackson and Robbins voted yes. Reinhart and Veach voted no.

Following the review of the financial report, John Mixon, architect with Cromwell, and Adam Seiter, project manager with Nabholz Construction, presented a proposed concession stand/restroom project at the football field.

The facility would be 880 square foot concession with restrooms. They said time is a major concern.

"We will not be able to get it done by the first game but we could have it done early in the season," Mixon said.

The estimated cost was $175,000.

The board requested they get exact costs before a decision is made.

The board accepted the resignation of Lana Burnside, kindergarten teacher.

Superintendent Castor recommended Jennifer Miller Bice to be hired as a kindergarten teacher, Kelly Gillham, high school English teacher; and Amanda Bundren, Middle School teacher.

At the close of the meeting, Board member Tony Crowell resigned his position on the board. Superintendent Castor then recommended hiring Crowell as Dean of Students in the high school; elementary athletic director; and assistant football coach with a 12 month contract. Board members voted 6-0, unanimously, in favor of hiring Crowell.

The board has 30 days from the June meeting to appoint someone to serve until the election on Sept. 17. Candidates will need to get their petition filed at the Mississippi County Courthouse by noon, July 9, 2013 to be on the ballot for the September election. The winning candidate will serve out the remainder of Crowell's five year term which will be up in September of 2014.

In other business:

*Mrs. Castor said she had received an early graduation request from a ninth grade student. She presented the request and informed the board the request is outside the district's time frame for a decision on early graduation. Students need to apply in their sophomore year. The board voted to return the request with the information to the student.

*The board voted unanimously to approve the Migrant Application for the 2013-1014 school year.

*The board voted to send proposed policies to the personnel policy committee for review. They deferred reviewing other proposed policies until the July meeting.

*The board approved a stipend schedule as presented.

*Board member McCain made a motion to give the superintendent a three percent raise starting July 1. The board voted 7-0 in favor of the motion.

*The board approved adjusting the stipend salary for Jason Evers for the days he served as elementary principal.

*The board voted to review bids for blacktopping the road by the bus shed.

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