Salem schools to seek 10 – year levy renewal

SALEM — The Salem Board of Education agreed Monday morning to ask voters to renew an existing emergency levy, but this time for 10 years.

The resolution to place the levy renewal on the ballot was part of the consent agenda approved during the meeting, which was held in the morning instead of the evening. The board had already voted previously to have the county auditor’s office certify the amount for the levy, which generates $2.1 million annually according to Salem City Schools Treasurer Michael Douglas.

He said the emergency levy was first approved in November 2014 for five years to help fund daily operations. This time around, he said the board decided to seek a longer time period. He noted that it’s not a new tax, just a renewal, and will generate the same amount as now, $2.1 million annually.

During his financial report to the board, Douglas noted the fiscal year closed with a deficit of $79,523 between revenue and expenditures, but the cash flow was all right. He said he had predicted being ahead by $100,000 instead of being in the negative, but said purchase services were up this past year. He noted the district received a two-month bill at the end of the fiscal year from the Educational Service Center, who had not billed the district the previous month. The bill was $258,000, but normally would have been half that.

He also said excess costs were up for what the district has to pay out for special education children who go to other districts. The other district can ask for reimbursement for those excess costs over what they receive from the state.

The capital outlay was increased, also, due to the purchase of two properties near Reilly stadium.

On a good note, he said the amount being paid out for open enrollment students who choose to go somewhere else was down and the number of open enrollment students choosing to come to Salem was up. Real estate income was up slightly, too.