Chesterton Tribune



School board approves 2017 Duneland budget, hears future facility projects

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The Duneland School Board unanimously adopted the schools’ 2017 proposed budget on Monday.

Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz said the budget has been advertised at $67,329,020 but estimates the budget returned by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance early next year will be closer to $66.2 million.

For 2016, the budget was advertised at $66.3 million and was certified at $65.2 million.

Kwilasz said she expects the state to cut the Capital Projects fund from $9.4 million to $8.4 million due to the circuit break tax caps and the neutralization for the pension bonds. The Transportation Operations Fund is also likely to be reduced from $4.3 million to $4.1 for those same reasons, she said.

Next year will be the last to make full payments to neutralize the pension bond and there will be one last payment in 2018 at about half the amount.

The advertised tax rate for 2017 is $1.0794 per $100 of assessed valuation. Kwilasz said her actual estimate is $1.0183 or less. For 2016, the advertised rate was $1.2699 but was certified at $.9880.

The votes to approve all resolutions for the budget adoption were made 4-0. Absent from the meeting was board member Ron Stone.

Facility projects

Meanwhile, Director of Support Services Greg Lindy announced that all summer projects are now complete with the wrap-up of the roof projects at Bailly Elementary and the high school, new classroom door security features at Westchester Intermediate, the front entrance at CHS and window replacements and the new canopy entrance at the middle school.

Lindy said there are two major projects on the schedule for this fall. There will be a bathroom renovation at WIS for $55,000 that will be done by Vendramini Construction.

The Special Services Center will get a new fire alarm system installed by EMCOR Hyre Electric Company at $55,764.

Lindy also gave the board a list of proposed projects to be done next summer with their estimated costs:

-- Repairing shingled roof at WIS, $133,000

-- HVAC renovations and new security doors at Yost Elementary, $250,000

-- HVAC renovations at Jackson Elementary, $185,000

-- Pavement restoration for main thoroughfare and front entrance at CHS, $183,000

-- Pavement restoration at Duneland bus barn, $225,000

The projects should be ready to be bid by Christmas, Lindy said. There is about $1.2 million left on the bond approved nearly two years ago, which will be enough to cover costs for the projects listed, he said.

Legislative session

Board member John Marshall told his colleagues and those in the audience that the Indiana School Board Association recently met to begin setting its agenda for the upcoming Indiana General Assembly in January.

Marshall, who is the legislative liaison for the board, said the ISBA supports the idea of allowing schools to adjust their schedule at the start and end of their days for safety purposes, implementing e-learning days, having standardized testing be shorter at the end of the school year, giving tax credits to individuals who make donations to public schools and school foundations, offering more professional development for teachers and allowing school referendums to go to eight years instead of seven so they can align more with normal election years.

Marshall said there were about 94 bills offered on education by legislators last year and there will be as many for 2017 as well.

“It’s impossible to follow all of them but I will track the ones that affect us here in Duneland,” he told the board.

Duneland Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis encouraged board members to attend the ISBA Region 1 meeting in Schererville that is scheduled for next Monday.


In Superintendent Comments, Pruis commended Liberty Elementary for promoting Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month which included a walk-a-thon and raised a total of $1,592 which will be donated to Rusty’s Hope Inc. for pediatric brain cancer research.

Brummitt Elementary celebrated the National Run @ Work Day and students and staff together ran a total of 148 miles around the school to promote physical education. The event was organized by 4th Grade teacher Mike Styles.

CMS will be hosting its first 5K run and walk on Saturday, Nov. 5 to benefit veterans, donating the proceeds to Folds of Honor Foundation which gives scholarships for children and spouses of military members. Registration is $25 before Monday, Oct. 24 which includes a long-sleeve T-shirt. Online registrations can be done at Race Day registration is $30.

Pruis also gave kudos to the sports teams that have participated in or won championships including the CHS Boys Soccer team, the Tennis team, and the Girls Golf team.

He also congratulated the ten CHS students who were commended in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program announced earlier last week. Commended students place in the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students entering the competition.

Pruis remarked that is a significant number of Merit Scholars coming out of CHS. Principal Jeff Van Drie agreed, “That is a lot.”



Posted 10/11/2016




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