The Adams Central Public Schools Board of Education approved the school district’s budget for the new year and conducted a public hearing to discuss the 2019-20 tax requests during their September board meeting Monday night.

The board also met with Drew Harris, the new Educational Service Unit No. 9 chief administrator.

All board members were present.

The budget for this school year sits at $26,472,288 — an increase of about $7.7 million from what the school district actually spent in 2018-19. All funds increased, with notable changes including a $2 million jump in the general fund, a $2.6 million jump in the bond fund and a $1.4 million increase in the special building fund.

“Even though we have $15.2 (million in the general fund) we will not spend that. As you obviously know, most of the time when we budget we don’t spend everything,” said Shawn Scott, superintendent.

This year’s budget is lower than the $28.9 million from the 2017-18 school year.

The board conducted a public hearing for the budget, and no one spoke.

The school board also approved the district’s 2019-20 tax request. Overall, the tax request was reduced by less than 1 percent.

The general fund tax request was lowered from 6.54648 cents per $100 valuation to to 6.46624 — a decrease of 1.23%.

“It’s just the way the numbers worked out. We’re not going to tax anymore than we have to,” Scott said. “We had a little bit of money left over from last year, so we could drop it a little bit.”

The bond fund and special building fund did increase, however. The bond fund increased by $0.00016, and the special building fund increased by $0.000393.

The board convened a public hearing over the tax request, and no one spoke.

Scott said during the meeting that property valuations in the school district have fallen, due in part to agricultural land being reassessed lower. Property valuation is about $3,850,944 lower this year than last, a decrease of about 0.22%.

“Ag. lands evaluations are dropping,” Scott said. “We’re probably about 50-55% ag land, but we still have a fair amount of residential and industrial districts.”

This means that total expected tax revenue from the tax request will be $163,129 lower than last year.

Harris then spoke to the board. Haris took over the chief administrative position at ESU No. 9 in July and moved from Hebron to Adams County only two days prior. He worked previously as superintendent of Thayer Central Public Schools.

Harris introduced himself to the board and talked about a few of the services ESU No. 9 provides to Adams Central, including instructional framework workshops, licensed mental health therapists and grant proposal services. Adams Central currently utilizes the ESU’s services.

“It’s kind of like a cooperative for farmers. It’s a place where you can sign up and be part of it and we can provide some services, maybe more cost effectively because numbers are involved,” Harris said.

Harris reminded the board about the ESU No. 9 consortium — a group of four local school districts including Adams Central — receiving a $200,000 ReVision grant. The ReVision grant will go to zSpace units, which are computers with virtual and augmented reality capability for career and technical training.

In other business, the school approved the payment of $1,193,048 from the general fund to be paid. Also, a payment of $220,000 was made from the cooperative fund. Scott noted this is slightly unusual based on the annual timing, but it is the last payment for the roundabout on U.S. Highway 6.

The school is also going through its Nebraska Department of Education’s Rule 10 process. Rule 10 is the process that schools get their accreditation. Scott said there is normally no issue with receiving accreditation and expects this year to be no different.

The next board meeting will be Oct. 14 at Adams Central High School.

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