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November 12, 2019

11/4/2019 11:45:00 AM
Highland mill rate to decrease overall by $0.79 per $1,000 of assessed property value
At their 2019 annual meeting and regular meeting, both held on Wednesday, Oct. 23, the Highland Board of Education adopted the 2019 budget and approved the mill rate, which overall will be going down by $0.79 per $1,000 of assessed property value; the levy was certified with a decrease of 1.19 percent.
The overall property tax levy will be at $1,356,459 down from $1,372,727 in 2018-19; however, Highland School Superintendent Nancy Hendrickson did note that taxes in the Village of Highland will be going up slightly while the other municipalities in the district will be going down. Hendrickson stated this is because property in the village is worth more. The increase in the Village of Highland is marginal, up by 0.52 percent - or $1,429 spread out across all the land. The budget for the school is set at $4,339,003 with expenditures equaling that amount as well making it a balanced budget. "The budget is in a good spot, and enrollment is on the uptick," Hendrickson said. This year's enrollment is 300 with 2020-21 projected to have 294 and 2021-22 to be at 292. After the annual meeting was over, the school board officially approved this budget and tax levy.
Also of note at the annual meeting, a resolution designating a site for school purposes and authorizing the acquisition and purchase of real estate was passed. This allows the board of education to purchase land for the school as the board doesn't have the authority to do this unless a resolution is passed at the annual meeting. Land adjacent to the school (by J & M Building Supply) is being considered for purchase. According to the resolution "it is hereby determined that additional space is needed for parking, storage, and other school purposes." The resolution gives the board the power to negotiate and purchase the land, but there is no timeline on that - it could take weeks, months, or years. "This is really the very preliminary step," Hendrickson said. The board will be getting more specifics at the regular meeting in November.
In other annual meeting business, the board designated Highland State Bank as the school district depository, kept the board salaries the same ($40 per member per board meeting with the Board President, Treasurer, and Clerk making $45; $30 per board member per committee meeting), authorized the school to participate in the school lunch program, passed a resolution regarding the transportation of students, authorized the district audit for the succeeding year, and set the 2020 annual meeting date between the last Monday in September and the last day in October.
During their brief regular meeting, Hendrickson gave a small synopsis on the state report card acknowledging the great work of the district: the middle school and elementary school were ranked at meeting expectations with the high school at exceeding expectations. Once the reports are officially released, more will be known. Additionally, Hendrickson told the board that a posting for her position as district administrator will be going live shortly - applications are slated to be due the end of November.
Thirteen applications for fifteen different college courses to be taken by Highland students were approved as part of the CollEDGE Up program. Previously, this used to be called Youth Options. The three classes students asked to take were a speech course, intro to sociology, and a communications course.
A NEOLA license agreement was passed. NEOLA will help putting policies online in a standardized format and update them as needed. The board and NEOLA are ready to get rolling wit this process.
Donations of time, money, and materials from Collision Specialists; Laufenberg Feed & Ag, Joe Wienkes; Laufenberg Masonry; and Tri-Star Mulch were approved with gratitude.
An intergovernmental agreement with the Iowa-Grant School District to provide early childhood services for one student for a one-year stint was discussed. It will be approved once the board gets final numbers from Iowa-Grant.
Laying off one special education aide was passed - this aide worked one-on-one with a student who has since moved out of the Highland School District. Going forward, there may be other special education opportunities to bring this aide back on.
The next regularly scheduled Highland Board of Education meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.

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