The Armstrong-Ringsted Board of Education Monday night held a public hearing and approved a $7,511,439 budget for the 2013-14 school year.
The budget calls for a reduction on the property tax rate from 12.92 to 11.46 mils and an increase from the income tax surcharge from 3 to 10 percent. Superintendent Matt Berninghaus explained that the increased surcharge could buy down the tax rate by $200,000 - a scenario based on zero percent allowable growth.
The board also approved a resolution authorizing redemption of general obligation school refunding bonds that were used to pay for the north addition. The resolution also authorizes an increase in the debt service levy from .69 to 2.50 which will generate another $330,000 which will be placed in escrow toward redemption of the bonds.
Berninghaus said the bond payoff will save district taxpayers $95,000 in interest payments. He said he will come before the board next year with a similar proposal with an eye toward paying off the bonds in 2016 - the earliest they may be paid.
Berninghaus said the plan would be preferable to using PPEL (physical plant and equipment levy) funds to pay down the bond since those funds will be saved for reorganization with Sentral School District. He said under state law, when districts reorganize they must go to the lower PPEL rate of the two districts.
In other business, the board heard administrative reports, approved a resolution allowing the district to use the budget guarantee in fiscal 2014, approved summer projects totalling $73,600, approved Eagle Grove's admittance into the North Iowa Conference and approved the 2013-14 school calendar.