School starts new budget process this year

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

McCOOK, Neb. — The process for approving the budget will change this year, according to McCook Public Schools' business manager.

Jeff Gross, MPS business manager, told the McCook Board of Education Monday at the regular meeting Monday night that per state law, a joint public hearing of Red Willow County, the City of McCook and the MPS district will be held if their budgets for this year are more than 2% higher than last years’. Postcards will be sent to district patrons about the meeting, which must be held after 6 p.m.

After that hearing, the school district will have its own public hearing at its monthly meeting for the property tax request and later in the meeting, the budget will be approved.

Property valuations from the county will be released on Aug. 20 and budgets are due to the state by Sept. 30. This time crunch may require an extra special meeting, Superintendent Grant Norgaard said.

Gross told the board that with 92% of the fiscal year finished, the school district has year-to-date revenue at 103% and year-to-date expenses at 89%.

In other business:

-After briefly discussing who would represent the school district on a committee that would be established, the board unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with the City of McCook to cooperate in the construction of recreational facilities in the city. The city may ask voters in the November mid-term elections to increase the 1.5% city’s sales tax to 2%, with the .5% increase going toward a new swimming pool and ball park project/improvements. Per state law, city sales tax cannot be imposed at a rate greater than 1.5% unless the municipality is a party to an interlocal agreement. The agreement doesn’t require any financial obligation from the school district. Superintendent Grant Norgaard said an agreement with the school makes the most sense, as recreational facilities impact students directly with opportunities for recreation, health and fitness. Although the city would be responsible for the operation of the facilities, the school district in the future could help with some ballpark maintenance now and then, he said. Board member Tom Bredvick questioned who would represent the school district on a monthly committee established by the interlocal agreement. The committee would have two members from the school and three from the city. Norgaard said representatives from the school could be members of the administration staff, such as himself and the district business manager, or an interested school board member.

-Approved local substitution certificates. Requirements per state law for substitute teachers include an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, along with a human relations credit, Norgaard said. Substitute teachers can teach up to 90 days per school district, with sometimes becoming permanent members of the staff, he said. Those with a bachelor’s degree can become teachers if they complete the Transitional/ Initial Certification program through the University of Nebraska.

-Approved the Option Enrollment Resolution, which stipulates how many option enrollment students can be accepted in each grade and Special Education programs, based on program capacity and projected enrollment. The option enrollment program allows parents to send their children to school in a district other than the one in which they reside. Student placements are made based on available capacity in the grade level, program, or school requested. Norgaard said Special Education program capacity fluctuates throughout the year, so a program full now could have openings later in the year.

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