Powder River Examiner -

Superintendent Jim Hansen 

August School Board Report


August 16, 2018

Once again, the summer has passed by very quickly and we are looking forward to the first day of school on Wednesday, August 22nd. Beginning Friday, August 17th all staff will return to school and begin preparations for the 2018-19 school year.

Over the summer your maintenance and custodial staff has been busy cleaning and upgrading your facilities. We are fortunate to have a dedicated veteran custodial crew and skilled maintenance personal. Please take time to thank our maintenance and custodial staff for all their hard work over the summer. Our facilities received many upgrades over the summer most of which were completed by our summer custodial and maintenance staff.

At the August board meeting the trustees will adopt a budget for the 2018-19 school year. The district already knows the monetary amount of the general fund at the elementary and high school. However, we do not know the number of mills needed to generate this revenue. During the first week of August your county assessor’s office will give us the taxable valuation for the elementary and high school district. Once the district receives the taxable valuation we then determine the number of mills needed to generate the budget (a mill is 1/1000 of the taxable valuation).

This community has always been very supportive of this school district. Last spring the high school successfully passed a levy for $107,862.55 or 7.02 mills. As I begin to prepare a final budget for the 2018-19 school year, I do not expect the district to increase the high school levy by the taxpayer approved 7.02 mills. The amount of mills a district levies is a function of the mill value, reserves re-appropriated, and the district’s budget authority. Last year the high school levied 43.08 mills compared to 78.30 mills in the 2007-08 school year. Since the value of a mill is directly related to the valuation of the taxing jurisdiction, the number of mills levied provides a general measure of how much taxpayers are assessed relative to value. Your school district has reduced the number of levied mills but has increased the monetary amount assessed to taxpayers. Consequently, you and I may be paying more but a significantly smaller percentage due to the increase in the taxable valuation and decrease in levied mills. As a school district we have made a conscious effort to lower or keep the number of mills constant. This is my best effort to “simply explain” this confusing concept. When trustees receive recommended budgets at the meeting, I would expect the high school mills and the voted monetary increase to be less than what taxpayers approved last spring.

Despite the recent reductions in State support and declining enrollment, your overall financial status is strong. You have ending fund balances in your technology and building reserve funds. Through your building reserve fund the district has been able to complete many facility improvements and maintain adequate reserves. On more than one occasion I have discussed your high school roof membrane which has a twenty year lifespan. We did have a few tears repaired this summer and it was recommended we look at replacing the membrane in two to three years. At this time you have adequate reserves to complete this major project without asking taxpayers for a special levy. The high school roof membrane was last replaced in 1993 through a special building levy. I do not see a need in the foreseeable future to run special levies to support building or technology needs. Many school districts are not this fortunate.

We are looking forward to educating the youth of Powder River County and as always, feel free to stop by the school at any time.


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