Lake School Board ponders tax rate options while awaiting State funding decision


The Clear Lake School Board reviewed options for its 2013-14 budget Monday, but has delayed making any tax rate decisions until the state finalizes its allowable growth rate provided to schools.

Lorna Leerar, business manager for the School District, prepared tax levy information based upon zero, 2 and 4 percent allowable growth.  Leerar said she has no idea how soon the State Legislature will make a decision 

regarding allowable growth, but is generally expected to land between 2 and 4 percent.  

The Iowa House has approved a 2 percent allowable growth rate, but the Iowa Senate favors 4 percent allowable growth.

According to Leerar’s numbers, a 2 percent allowable growth rate would result in a local school tax rate of $12.33 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.  At 4 percent allowable growth the rate would be $12.25 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Clear Lake’s current school tax rate is $12.91 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. 

The improvement is credited to increased property valuation in the community.

The district intends to publish its proposed budget in the March 13 edition of the Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter.  Leerar said if the legislature has not made a decision regarding allowable growth at that time, the district will proceed based on 0 percent allowable growth, meaning a higher tax rate would be used.  A public hearing will then be held on the budget Monday, March 25.  

In other business Monday, the School Board briefly discussed but made no decision on its plan to schedule weekly early dismissals or late starts to provide time for mandated teacher in-service opportunities.  A survey has been sent to district parents.  

The Board approved the purchase of $9,000 in cameras to improve bus safety.  The group had initiated the safety plan several months ago and received three bids.  The lowest bid, submitted by FamTec Surveillance of Norwich, N.Y., was accepted.  The cameras will be used inside and outside of 14 district buses.  Cameras placed on school bus arms extending outside the vehicle will be able to record license plate numbers and vehicle activity in the bus’ presence.  Inside, they will be able to capture student and bus driver activity.

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