Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 12, 2013

District 80 adopts tax levy

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — The District 80 Board of Education Wednesday formally adopted the district’s 2013-2014 tax levy, which shows an increase of 7.6322 percent.

The levy was approved following a Truth in Taxation hearing held during that evening’s board meeting.

No members of the public made comments at the hearing. However, Superintendent Mike Green said he did receive a phone call prior to the meeting from a local resident who was troubled by the levy hike.

“She was concerned about the levy and also just concerned for people in general paying more taxes,” Green said of the caller.

Tax caps prevent the district from collecting more than a 5 percent levy increase.

District officials say their actual increase this year likely won’t be much higher than 1.7 percent, depending on new construction.

Green said he is satisfied with the district’s levy and the work that went into arriving at a fair amount.

“It’s an interesting process,” Green said. “It’s also one that you are conscious of the taxpayer, but also your responsibilities of running the school district and maintaining that you have enough money to run the school district.”

Also on Wednesday, the District 80 Board heard a detailed report from Ryan Swan, principal of the J.L. Buford Intermediate Center.

Swan’s report outlined several aspects of the Buford school, including its demographics, goals, student discipline, security, student achievement and more.

Buford currently uses a three-tiered approach to discipline.

Students in the first tier have no discipline problems, those in the second tier have had a few discipline issues and those in the third tier have chronic behavioral issues.

Ninety-one percent of Buford’s students are in the first tier, which exceeds the target goal of 80 percent, Swan said.

Eight percent of students are in Tier 2 and 1 percent are in the third tier, Swan said. The goal is 15 percent or less for Tier 2 and 5 percent or less for Tier 3.

“Overall, when it comes to (student discipline), we are well within those parameters,” Swan said.

Swan’s report also touched on several future goals for the school. They include integrating Common Core Standards, implementing a new teacher evaluation plan, improving the Balanced Literacy program and more.

Other board actions Wednesday included:

n Discussion of an upcoming audit of the district to be performed by the Illinois State Board of Education. The audit will examine the district’s use of Title I and Title II funding, as well as transportation funding and general state aid.

n Hearing of a report on the Head Start program.

n Discussion of state payments. Green said the district received $320,000 of its annual pre-K grant in November. This is the first time in three years, he said, that the district has started receiving this funding before Christmas.

n Discussion of the Casey Middle School expansion, which is nearly complete.

n Examination of the board’s goals for 2013-2014.