The Duneland School Board unanimously accepted the recommendation of School
Superintendent Dave Pruis and Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz to adopt
the 2014 corporation budgets as presented and advertised at a final figure
That is $872,000 higher than the 2013 adopted budget but Pruis and Kwilas
said they expect the state to set the budget at almost the same figure as
Budgets are due to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance by
Nov. 1. The DLGF will next review and certify the levies and the budgets
which will be ordered early next year.
As required by statute, the board at its budget adoption meeting Monday,
approved resolutions to adopt the 2014-2016 capital projects fund and the
12-year bus replacement plan. Both are levy-capped funds and were given a
public hearing on Sept. 28.
The capital projects fund has been advertised at $10.5 million and Pruis
said the state will likely reduce the amount to $9 million as it did for
The board authorized Pruis or Kwilas to reduce appropriations for any of
the funds during the DLGF’s budget review.
There was a fourth resolution to authorize neutralization regarding
retirement/severance pay debt obligations to be made from both the capital
projects fund and the transportation operations fund. The school pension
debt is $1.6 million this year and half will be neutralized according to a
resolution approved last year to adjust the neutralization in phases of 25
percent each year over four years.
Seventy percent of the neutralization will be made out of the transportation
fund while the remaining 30 percent will come from the CPF fund.
The General Fund, which is controlled by the state and is funded by state
sales tax, was advertised at $34.575 million and approved at that amount.
Kwilas said she expects it will be reduced by the DLGF. The 2013 budgets
for the General Fund had been advertised at $34.4 million.
Pruis reminded the board that figures proposed are “inflated” in order to
capture the maximum levy.
Kwilasz said the overall tax rate proposed in the advertised budget is
$1.3570. That includes a $.3534 rate from the Debt Service Fund, a $.4590
rate in the Capital Projects Fund, and $.2435 for the referendum fund.
By her best estimates, Kwilasz said the state is likely to lower the tax
rates to a total of $1.0924. For 2013, the tax rate was set at $1.0984. That
is based on a net assessed value amount of $2 billion, although the actual
net AV was reported by the county auditor’s office at $2.391 billion for the
Duneland School Corporation.
Pruis said the net AV for 2013 pay 2014 dropped by half a percent compared
to last year, almost $14.7 million.
“It’s a continuous trend since 2008,” said Pruis.
On the subject of net AV, board member Kristin Kroeger inquired if the
$2.391 billion included the assessment of Porter Regional Hospital located
at the Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 intersection in the Liberty Twp.
Board member Ralph Ayres said it was reported in the media that the hospital
assessment should be coming later this week.
County Assessor Jon Snyder told the Chesterton Tribune after the
meeting that he expects to complete the assessment by the end of the week.
Student count slips slightly
While a boost in AV could be good news for the schools, Pruis said the new
enrollment figures for the average daily membership are down by more than 40
students this year, just as he predicted at the board’s previous meeting.
The September ADM figure was 5,722.4 students compared to 5,765.62 students
in 2012, a decrease of 43 students. Through the state’s funding formula,
Pruis said Duneland will see a loss of nearly $200,000 in tuition support.
Pruis mentioned however there was growth seen in the kindergarten classes
and in other areas.
“We were up at the high school and in the middle school, but were down those grades
one through six,” Pruis said.
Pruis said the number is “not as far down as we first thought.” He said the
administration thought they were down about 60 students and the reduction is
not as significant as it may have been.
“We’re in okay shape,” he said.
Taking a view of how other schools fared, Pruis and Kwilasz said that growth
has been flat around the state, with many seeing nearly identical results as
“There are many folks out there similar to us, some without any growth,”
Pruis said schools that have reported higher attendance figures tend to be
those in the central part of the state.
Also in his report, Pruis lauded the CHS girls soccer team for winning the
Duneland Athletic Conference championship. He also gave kudos to the CHS
girls golf team for competing in the IHSAA state finals over the weekend.
Rain garden at Brummitt
Meanwhile, Brummitt Elementary principal Antonio Cammarata made a
presentation to the board with students in the third grade classes about
partnering with the Save the Dunes organization to build a new, bowl-shaped
rain garden adjacent to the school’s east parking lot.
The students explained the benefits of having a rain garden such as
protecting the environment, managing runoff, and improving the quality of
life for residents.
Cammarata said the school is located within the Little Calumet-Galien
watershed. The east arm of the Little Calumet River runs right behind the
school, he said.
This is the second year the school is collaborating with Save the Dunes and
will continue programs such as “Fred the Fish” for younger students helping
them understand the effects pollutants have on waterways, Cammarata said.
Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Human Relations Monte Moffett
gave the personnel report to the board.
One appointment was made since the board met last - Dawn Trowbridge, who
will be a recess aide at Liberty Intermediate.
Resigning are Yost Elementary Instructional Aide Alesia Bewick and Liberty
Elementary recess aide Janet King.
Taking a leave from June 13, 2013, to June 13, 2014, is James Romanak of
Duneland’s Maintenance Department.
The school board is scheduled to meet next on Monday, Nov. 4.