Chesterton Tribune



Public quiet on 2017 schools budget; Trail Bound trip approved

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Monday’s meeting of the Duneland School Board included a public hearing on the proposed 2017 budget for the Duneland Schools which concluded without any audience member speaking.

Duneland’s Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz did explain the different parts of the budget which includes the levy-capped funds for bus replacement and capital projects.

The total amount advertised for the overall budget is $67.4 million which is roughly a 1.5 percent increase over 2016’s figure.

Next year, Duneland will have paid off its pension bonds. Currently both the Transportation and Capital Project Funds are used to neutralize the debt. That means the two are expected to receive $600,000 each next year, Kwilasz said.

The General Fund, which is funded by the state’s tuition formula, is advertised at $37.3 million. Kwilasz said the state’s foundation amount, or the minimum funding for public school corporations to receive, in 2017 will be $5,888 per student. That is a $121 increase over the previous year, she said.

The more students a school district has, the more funding it will receive. The average daily membership fall count in the state will be on Friday.


Lastly, the referendum fund is advertised at 22.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, a bloated rate so the school can receive all of the revenues possible at the rate of 22 cents per $100 assessed valuation decided by the voters in the 2012 referendum election.

Kwilasz said the referendum helps pay the salaries of 117 personnel currently, as well as sustaining extra-curricular programs, technology integration, nurses, media specialists, high ability aides, lunch and recess aides, utilities and equipment for the WDSO radio station.

The referendum is in place for a total of seven years and will expire in 2020 unless a public vote is taken in 2019 to continue it for another length of time.

Superintendent of Schools David Pruis said he expects the school district will start campaigning for the next referendum in 2017.

Trail Bound to Michigan Woods

In other business Monday, the board approved the 18th annual Trail Bound trip for Chesterton High School students.

Next June, CHS Social Studies teacher Bob DeRuntz will take a group of students to the north woods of Michigan. Sites planned for the trip include the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula where participants will kayak and hike.

The group will also visit Mackinac Island and tour historic sites and colonial settlements. Next the group will travel to Lake Huron and cross into Canada to attend a play at the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival. Finishing the trip will be a visit to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn.

The class will start with in-class study on June 8 and June 9. The actual trip will be from June 11-18.

Applications are due Friday, Oct. 28. A physical test for applicants will be given on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Total cost per student is $760 which includes tuition, food and registration fees.


Director of Support Services Greg Lindy reported that all summer facility projects have been completed except for a few punch list items.

Since the last board meeting, Lindy said the new entrance with extra security functions at CHS is “totally done.” Principal Jeff Van Drie said Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jim Goetz agreed that “it is working really, really well.”

Work on the tennis courts has also wrapped up, Lindy said. The new band tower has been erected and lights will be put up soon.

Lindy said he will be back next board meeting with change orders but the facilities work will come in under budget, about $500 to be exact.

“We’ll take it,” said Board President Kristin Kroeger. She encouraged Lindy to start looking at what needs to be done for Summer 2017.



Posted 9/14/2016




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