School Board approves Ad Valorem Tax Request

By Daniel Brunty
The Winston County Journal

The Louisville Municipal School Board of Trustees faced a hard decision regarding this year’s school funding during their

August 12 meeting held at the LMSD Central Office.
The meeting began with the approval of the consent agenda, followed by the finance report from Director of Finance Tracy Luke. During her report, Luke showed the board members a PowerPoint presentation regarding an approval of an Ad Valorem Tax Request for 2015. Luke began by showing the board members the three-year history of the assessments, mills, and tax requests for the school district within the county. Luke mentioned the increase in the 2014 school year, and she also mentioned that the stats for the 2015 year are the current stats after the April 28 storms.
She explained how the assessments help calculate the millage, with the school district having been at a constant 52.63 for the past two years. She also explained that the school fund request is staying the same as last year’s, however, asking for that same dollar figure will most likely increase the millage by two points. Luke stated that the county’s Tax Assessor estimated a possible shortfall of around $239,000 for the district. She then moved on to the next part of the presentation.
“This right here takes four different values of houses and determines the millage from what the revenue for the district would be based on a $50,000, $100,000, $150,000, and $200,000 home,” Luke said. She then explained how much in taxes each particular home would pay in taxes. She also showed the same rate using the millage rate of 52.63.
She then presented a slide which showed the differences in both rates. “If we were to continue to ask for the amount of money that we asked for last year, it is only going to mean for a home valued at $50,000 an increase of $11.77 more in their taxes than remaining at the 52.63,” Luke said. “For a $100,000 homeowner it would mean $23 more to the taxpayer than remaining at the 52.63 mills.”
She then presented information on the district’s declining fund balance. After that she asked the board members did they have any questions. After a discussion between all the board members that had them review all options, Board President Betty Byrd asked for a motion to approve the Ad Valorem Tax Request for 2015. Secretary Cathy Moody made the motion. The request was approved with a 3 to 2 vote.
Next, the board received an update of the progress of the renovation of the Eiland Middle School Gymnasium from architect Joey Henderson. At the present time, the floor to the gymnasium is being installed, as well as the ceiling and all the ductwork has been completed. The schedule to have the gym floor completed is by the end of August, with the delivery of the bleachers by early September. The bleachers will take around two weeks to install.
The estimated time of completion of the entire project is mid-September. The next topic Henderson discussed was the size of the Nanih Waiya Storm Shelter. Henderson stated that they have received questions regarding the calculations of size of households. The original calculation was based upon four people per household, now it has been determined to be three people per household. Henderson stated that at the time the shelter could be built to 4,400 square feet.
Henderson suggested to the board members that they may want to increase the square footage to 6,000, which would allow for people to be fed during their time in the shelter. The board agreed to allow Henderson to present a plan to increase the square footage to 6,000. The district applying for a FEMA grant, which icould fund up to 90 percent of the project. A motion was made and it was passed unanimously by the board to change the request for the building size.
Next, Superintendent Ken McMullan presented photos of improvements to various school campuses in the district, including a security fence around Fair Elementary, playground renovations at Louisville Elementary, curtain installation in the Louisville High School auditorium and ceiling tiles in the halls of the school, A/C units installed at Nanih Waiya Attendance Center, and new lights for the football field at Noxapater Attendance Center.
McMullan wanted to let the board members know that there are serious roofing issues at the LHS gym and in the halls of the school. The board asked for the board to consider resolving these issues soon, before they become worse and more funds will need to be spent in repairs. The board said they would take this under consideration.
In other news, the board:
Approved consent agenda.
Opened and approved hunting bids.
Approved Claims Docket and July 2014 Agency/Activity fund checks.
Approved July 2014 bank balances and financial reports.
Approved District/School Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Test Security Plan Addendum.
Approved 2014-2015 Special Education Part B Application in the amount of $715,339 and the Preschool amount of $23,075 and Carryover amount of $13,350.57.
Discussed Strategic Planning process to begin on August 19, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lake Tiak O’Khata. Doug McQueen will head the committee.
Approved the following teachers to provide homebound services (after the normal working day) to students who have medical or behavioral problems or who attend schools located in Winston County for 2014-2015 school year. They will be paid at their hourly rate. Staff included were: Apryl Bane, Ginger Christopher, Terri Cistrunk, Renea Easley, Velma Hathorn, Katie Hollingsworth, Tracy Jackson, and Janice Whitfield.
No action taken on requests for 4 student transfers.
Approved agreement with Mississippi State University for a counselor intern (Christy Smith) at Eiland Middle School for the 2014-2015 school year at a cost of $9,997.92.
Approved coaching supplements in the amount of $5,500 for Drew Smith and $4,500 for Joey Sanders for the 2014-2015 school year.
Approved the following staff recommendations for the 2014-2015 school year: Killi Adams, Elementary Noxapater and Francene Harris-Mae, Asst. Teacher Eiland.
Sixteenth Section
A. Approved of a new 2 acre residential lease for Laura B. Reed on 16-13-12 (Noxapater)
B. Approved to cancel a 4.1 acre residential lease on Margie Bell as requested by lessee on 16-15-12 (Poplar Flat)
C. Approved a new 4.1 acre residential lease for Heather and Conner Romedy on 16-15-12 (Poplar Flat)
D. Approved of a Site Prep spray bid for $69.69 per acre on 104 acres on 16-13-10 and 16-13-12 and a release bid for $43.69 per acre on 43 acres on 16-13-12. Both bids are by Timber Investment Managers
E. Approved the highest bid from
Approved Policy BDC on Board Policy Adoption.
Approved to advertise for sale of tin at Eiland Middle School and the lights at Noxapater. The money for the sale of these items will go back in to the activity fund at each school.
Discussed beginning enrollment numbers for the school district.
The LMSD Board of Trustees will hold their next meeting on September 9 at the LMSD Central Office at 5:30 p.m.