Kwilasz said buses
are assessed annually for viability and marked for replacement before the 12
years are up as needed.
Vice-president Brandon Kroft started the discussion on the capital
“At least from my
standpoint, there’s things on there I’m not comfortable with,” Kroft said.
“But I think we can address those as they come up,” he offered.
John Marshall agreed, and said the Board would need more information about
some of the projects down the road. Member Mike Trout noted, “This is a
plan, not a commitment. I think it’s important to remember that.”
Kroeger added that this is the first time the plan has been formed to span
several years. The last listed project has an estimated start date of May
2021. Kroeger said it isn’t possible to know everything yet in the planning
and added, “I’m comfortable with the other controls we have in place in
terms of needing to approve projects over a certain amount.”
In terms of the
2019 tax levies, Kwilasz said the Board was free to adjust them Monday
night, or to wait until hearing feedback on the 2019 budget from the
Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and change the rates at the
time of final budget approval.
Kwilasz what the Board’s options were for reducing one of the tax rates to
soften the impact of a transfer of payments for an outstanding lease from
the Capital Projects Fund to the Debt-Service Fund. That move, approved at
the last meeting, is projected to increase a taxpayer’s dedicated
debt-service rate by a maximum of $0.024 declining to $0.0139 in the final
year of payments, 2024.
“The levy went up
on debt-service by 2.4 cents, so I would like to reduce something by 2.4
cents to keep that neutral on the taxpayers,” Kroeger said.
Kwilasz said she
doesn’t recommend reducing the operating rate. Though she said other rates
can be reduced, including the referendum rate. Superintendent Dr. Ginger
Bolinger cautioned that reducing the referendum rate means collecting fewer
funds that can be spent with more flexibility than others, like the
Kroeger said, to
her understanding, “because we have a cash balance in debt service we can
neutralize what we just did,” which Kwilasz confirmed. Kwilasz noted that
reducing either the debt-service or referendum rate works, but “The only
thing about debt service is that if there’s a need for that cash balance,
you’ve taken that away.”
fund could loan it money if there was a problem,” she added.
Board Secretary Ron
Stone leaned toward reducing the referendum rate, but said he’d like to see
feedback on the budget before deciding. Trout was less hesitant.
“We have an
opportunity to make some changes if we need to,” Trout said. “They’re
looking for the maximum impact for what we can do for our students and our
community. To me, we should adopt these as presented.”
unanimously opted to adopt the rates as presented, retaining the right to
reduce them later.
In other budget
business, the Board approved a resolution to allow either Bolinger or
Kwilasz to tweak the budget by reducing line items in four areas after
receiving the report from DLGF. Kwilasz said the Board has generally granted
this authority in the past, as the report is likely to come out around the
holidays, when it would be inconvenient to schedule a meeting. If necessary,
she and Bolinger would communicate with the Board members before making
changes and act on their behalf to reduce either the 2019 budget
appropriations, appropriations needed for the last half of 2018, the
operating balance, or the referendum tax rate.
there was productive discussion at the first Bagels with Bolinger event
where ten members of the community came to speak with her.
announced that this year’s winter card contest begins Friday, Oct. 12.
Students of all ages at the Duneland Schools are invited to submit a card on
8.5 by 11-inch paper folded in half. Submissions are due Nov. 1.
its AdvancED certificate of accreditation, following a team of six experts
from the organization conducting an evaluation of Duneland between Jan. 21
and Jan. 24. AdvancED, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that
evaluates schools and grants accreditation with a goal of improving schools.
and Nutrition Manager Tammy Watkins announced that Duneland will begin
participating in the mobile marketplace, a Northwest Indiana Foodbank
Program that takes the food pantry on wheels.
Watkins said the
Food Bank will deliver 100 Thanksgiving dinners on Nov. 20, then Duneland’s
food service works will set up and prepare to give them away to families in
need. Watkins said she hopes it will be a good teambuilding exercise for her
If more than 100
people show up, Watkins said they will receive vouchers or be directed to
another location. If there is food left over, it will be sent to the closest
local food pantry. Watkins said she hopes to host the mobile marketplace
once a month if the first event goes well.