Tax Levy approved.
Board to introduce new
Superintendent at Jan. 24
By Keith Gillett
The ongoing inflation that has plagued the nation for the past year has caught up to the Mascoutah School District 19 and will be reflected in next year’s property tax bills as the District is proposing a budget that will increase the tax levy by as much as 7.15 percent. The District revealed its proposed tax levy at last week’s monthly Board meeting.
Dr. Frank Williams, the District’s executive director of business, told the Board that he expects the District’s Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) for property in the District to be approximately $300 million, an increase from this year’s EAV of $281 million, but lower than the $318 million estimate he provided the Board at the November Board meeting, and the $334 million that was estimated in a recent public notice in The Herald.
Based on an EAV of $300 million the District estimates its total bond and tax levy will be $14.4 million for a rate of 4.80, which is slightly less than the 4.83 for the current year. If the EAV is adjusted lower to $290 million in March the rate would be 4.83, the same as this year.
The District always uses an inflated estimate of the EAV for estimating its levy in December for the upcoming budget year in order to maximize available tax dollars. In March the District finalizes its local revenue request that will impact FY24. Once the county clerk’s office receives the final EAV from the State, the county calculates the District’s extension and rate. The District is not allowed to exceed the December levy, which currently is set at $10.6 million, an increase of $700,000 from the current year, or 7.15 percent.
The Board unanimously approved the adoption of the proposed levy.
The final levy will be set at either the March or April meeting at which time the Board will hold another tax levy hearing before final certification.
The Board also approved an abatement resolution for the alternative revenue bonds for tax year 2022, bonds that were used to build Wingate Elementary. The abatement means that the debt payments are paid by the District’s general fund and are not considered when calculating the amount of tax revenue needed to pay the District’s debt payments, thus not placing the debt on the District’s tax rate.
In other business:
• Board president Matt Stukenberg announced that the Board has been interviewing potential candidates for the superintendent’s position which will start July 1, 2023. The last two weeks the Board has spent several evenings interviewing. It discussed the final two candidates at the conclusion of the meeting, and intends to introduce the new superintendent at the January 24 Board meeting.
• Superintendent Dr. Craig Fiegel reported that construction on the Life skills house is complete. “We have taken possession and are in the process of moving in. We will start after the New Year with our online students using part of the house as planned. The Life Skills class will move in a little later as we work to transition things.”
Dr. Fiegel also presented the school calendar for 2023-24.
“I have attached the proposed calendar for the 23-24 school year. The Union is reviewing it now. I want to be able to bring a recommendation to you at the January Board meeting. The sooner we can finalize the calendar, the better, allowing people to plan around the school schedule.”
• Approved a contract extension with the Mascoutah Education Association effective January 1 and running through the 2025-26 school year. The extension addresses inequities due to past salary schedule freezes.
Salary increases for certified are as follows: 22-23 – 5%, 23-24 – 4%, 24-25 – 3% and 25-26 – 3%. For classified the increases are as follows: 22-23 – 3.15%,23-24 – 3.8%, 24-25 – 3%, and 25-26 – 3%.
• Approved the Gifted programming for K-5 as a one day a week pull out program. Students are to be identified for the program using specific identified criteria, including teacher recommendation and test scores.
• Approved the subscription purchase of Gaggle Safety Management for 18 months at a cost of $33,825.
• Approved four changes for the upcoming school year at Mascoutah High School, including the bell schedule, an update to the tardy policy, STEP/Personal Finance Course proposal, and the LIFE Program course proposal.
• Approved the renewal of the District’s website software with the District’s website provider (Thrillshare) for $16,500. After no increase for the past four years, there was an increase of $1,000.
• Awarded a bid for $212,121 for camera/video management replacement project as part of the five-year capital projects plan. The project will upgrade the District’s surveillance system.
• Approved the purchase of 55 9th generation iPads with two years of Apple Care and cases for for $28,000, using IDEA and Preschool grant dollars.
• Approved the purchase of PAES Lab through an IDEA grant for $36,530. The lab will be used at the District’s LIFE House.
The Board approved the following certified personnel actions:
• Hired Amanda Koch as an alternative eduction teacher at MHS Success Academy in a newly created position; Dana Fredwell as District Technology Instructional Coach; Jenna Spies as a Kindergarten teacher at Scott Elementary.
• Approved the resignation of Caitlin Morrell, a guidance counselor at MHS; and Megan Seemann, a Kindergarten teacher at Scott Elementary.
• Approved an extra duty assignment for Catherine Risley as Varsity Softball Coach at Mascoutah High School.
The Board approved the following classified personnel items:
• Hired Rebekah Catozzi as supervisory aide at Mascoutah Middle School; Silvia Villacorta for food service at Wingate at Mascoutah Middle schools; Payton Yarber as an extended time supervisory aide at Mascoutah Elementary; Emma Lewis as an extended time supervisory aide at Mascoutah Elementary; Damien Anderson as a computer technician in the IT department at Mascoutah High School; Dawn Bakazan as an instructional care aide at Scott Elementary; Dawn Fries for food service at Mascoutah High School; and Jessie Mann as an instructional aide at Scott Elementary.
• Approved the transfer of Kimberly Steiger as an individual care aide at MMS from ISDS supervisor at MMS; and FRebekah Catozzi as an instructional aide at MMS from supervisory aide at MMS.
• Approved the following resignations: Elizabeth Eckert as an instructional aide at SES; Robert Scott as a bus driver; Carol Overall as a bus driver; John Pilkington as a bus driver; and Eldon Ahner as a bus aid.