BEATRICE – The Beatrice Board of Education has approved a district budget for this year that proposes operations of nearly $28.23 million in spending…about a half-percent decrease over the prior year.
The general fund property tax request comes to about $12.64 million. That is a reduction of some $35,000 from the past year. That’s due to the district being up against the state tax levy limit on general operations, and slowing valuation growth.
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The board approved an operations tax rate just under the dollar-five cents state cap for the general fund. Counting bond and building funds, the district’s total levy is slightly less than a dollar-eight cents, per hundred dollars of valuation. The levy no longer includes a bond issue for Beatrice High School, which has been paid off.
The Beatrice Public Schools will receive state aid totaling about $5.17 million this coming year. Superintendent Jason Alexander says that number has been shrinking over the years.
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Alexander says district enrollment has not changed significantly enough since 2008, to grow state aid that comes to the district.
There was a marginal increase in district property valuation this year, and the figure now totals about $1.22 billion.
The budget contains a cash reserve of about three months of operating expenses. Alexander says the district has now underspent its budget in three of the last four years.
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Beatrice is part of a coalition of schools supporting increased state aid for public education. Board member Steve Winter says the coalition backs an effort to increase state aid and reduce the reliance on property taxes to fund education.
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Public hearings were held prior to school board approval of the budget and tax rate. No public input was given.
The Beatrice Board of Education has a new student representative. Senior Hannah Rinne was sworn in Monday night, as the new student representative on the six-member board.
The student position is a non-voting member of the board. Beginning in January, the District 15 Board increases to seven members, following this year’s election.