Montello School District holds annual meeting

By Keri Solis
The Montello School Board held their annual meeting Monday night where voters approved that the district would be authorized to raise for school purposes the sum of $5,767,545 to be levied against all taxable property. This represents a 3.8% increase over last year.

Open enrollment numbers were also released. In the 2014-2015 school year, a total of 94 students left the district through open enrollment and 76 came in. For 2015-2016 there are 112 students leaving the district and 88 students coming in.

The district has budgeted $7,957,792 for revenues and $8,743,982 for expenditures, leaving them with an estimated negative balance of $786,190 at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. As a result, the school may have to go to referendum in the spring of 2016 to continue operations. Voters defeated a proposed three-year referendum to fund the school last spring. A loss of 10.6% in state aid was attributed to part of the gap in the budget. The district is also no longer receiving charter grant money.
There is an increase in the projected average mill rate from $8.90 to $9.24 per $1,000 of property value. Mill rates are finalized by school districts in October after final property value and state aid numbers are reported.

Questions were asked by some of the 13 people in attendance. There was a concern about the early release times not being consistent on Wednesdays, as it can cause confusion. A comment was also made praising the new after school program for elementary students, but there was concern for how it will be funded once the three-year grant expires.

District Administrator Dr. Lynn Brown reported that the school has been working to standardize for efficiency with vendors as a cost saving measure, but eventually they will run out of areas to consolidate.