By Heather Graves
SEYMOUR – Trustees approved the preliminary budget for the 2021-22 school year at their June 22 school board meeting.
Though the amount of state aid the district will receive remains unclear, approving the preliminary budget now allows for spending to begin July 1, the start of the fiscal year.
The preliminary tax levy is at $8.56 million, with a tax rate of $9.57 per $1,000 of home value, an increase of 2 cents from last year.
Pete Kempen, director of business services, said the preliminary increase keeps true to the promise made to taxpayers during the referendum.
“As of right now, I am proposing a balanced budget,” he said. “Now it is preliminary because it is only June. We may need to add a teacher. We may need to do some maintenance work. There are many, many things that could possibly change in the budget. But as of right now, we are where we need to be.”
The public will get the opportunity to weigh in on the budget at the district’s annual meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. July 26.
The board will approve the finalized budget in October.
Curriculum and instruction
Jenny Pierre, director of teaching and learning, gave rave reviews of this year’s summer school program, which wrapped up June 25.
Pierre said 158 students from grades K-8 participated in the three-week program.
This year, the program took a new approach with students remaining together in cohorts with their teacher from 8 a.m. to noon each day participating in movement, enrichment and academic activities, each week focusing on a different theme.
All students received free breakfast and lunch each day.
Teachers are also learning this summer through professional development opportunities.
Pierre said so far this summer, a total of 179 staff members have participated in some form of professional development.
A new teacher inservice and back-to-school inservice planning for all teachers is already in the works, including a district lunch and inspirational speaker, Jason Kotecki, on Aug. 26.
The board approved the purchase and installation of ultraviolet air purification systems in all district buildings in the effort to remove bacteria, mold and viruses from the air.
“A UV system would also clean our equipment to allow it to run longer and more efficiently,” Kempen said. “Because it would eliminate some of these microorganisms on our coolers, chillers, pipes and that sort of thing. So not only does it improve the air quality, but it would also help our equipment last longer.”
Kempen said the cost is estimated at $199,305 and will be fully funded using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief dollars.
“This is a perfect use for ESSER funds,” Kempen said.
The installation will happen this summer and be ready for the first day of school in September.
The board also approved the purchase of two Canon copiers for Rock Ledge Primary Center and Black Creek Elementary/Middle School at a cost of $12,724.
The copiers will be used in each building’s workrooms.
Trustees approved the purchase and installation of new carpet at Rock Ledge from JW Flooring at a cost of $23,996.
The installation will happen prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year.