Members of the Nokomis School Board took a look at the preliminary tax levy during their Tuesday, Nov. 19, meeting, a levy that will require a "truth in taxation" hearing that will be scheduled before the next meeting.
A truth in taxation hearing is required by law when the total tax levy of a taxing body is higher than five percent more than the previous year's.
Superintendent Dr. Scott Doerr told board members that after speaking to the supervisors of assessments in Montgomery and Christian counties, he estimates the equalized assessed value (EAV) of the school district will increase 6.19 percent for the 2019 tax year, payable in 2020. Because the estimated increase in EAV is over five percent, the estimated levy will also need to increase more than five percent for the district to hit rate caps in funds that have them.
"Thus, based on the 2019 EAV estimate, multiplied by the maximum tax rate for each fund, that will provide an estimate of tax revenue for next fiscal year," the superintendent said.
Because the increase in the preliminary levy is based on an increase in EAV, Dr. Doerr anticipates the school district's tax rate will decrease slightly–about seven cents.
The board will take action on a final levy at their December meeting.
"Even though our test scores from spring were good, and we have met all of the other criteria set forth under ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), both North Elementary and the junior high were marked as underperforming because of one subgroup of students who did not meet their minimum standardized test scores–special education," Dr. Doerr said to begin a discussion on the school district's official Illinois Report Card.
Because of that, the state has provided Nokomis with a three-year school improvement grant totaling $60,000 to spend on professional and curriculum development.
"At this point, we are going to partner with ROE#3 (the regional office of education), an approved vendor, to provide professional development in co-teaching and instructional coaching for teachers," the superintendent said. "The special education administrative staff have met with special education teachers over the past few weeks to assist in developing ideas. Also, the special education and district administrative teams will work on developing a school-wide and district-wide plan to meet the needs of this rating."
Near the beginning of the meeting, the board heard from auditor Kent Kull of Mose, Yockey, Brown and Kull in Shelbyville, who gave the district a clean audit and presented a 3.8 financial score out of four, resulting in the highest profile ranking of recognition. The board voted to approve the report later in the meeting.
"Our health/life safety review went fairly well this year," the superintendent reported. In addition to items he referred to as "easy fixes," the report also pointed out the need for moisture-proof shower room light covers, and a fire retardant door on the boiler room at North School.
The board also approved its annual risk management plan, job descriptions for athletic director and head coach, purchased a mower from Sloan Implement for $8,190 and after a 15-minute closed session, accepted the resignation of cook Kim Brown effective Nov. 1, hired Karson Gragert as junior varsity softball coach, and posted junior high social studies and an art/music teacher positions for next school year, and a special ed aide effective immediately.