MSD certifies property tax levy, receives mixed test results

MEEKER I Certifying the 2015 county property tax mill levy to fund the school district for the next year was the primary task of the Meeker Board of Education (BOE) on Dec 8. The district operates on a general fund mill levy of 6.542, resulting in $5,057,335 of local property tax.
Also, the district has had an additional 2.869 mills to fund its bond redemption for the new elementary school bond.

Since the 2.869 mills has raised slightly more than the required annual bond payment, the BOE flirted with reducing the bond mills by .368 mill, thus reducing their total county property tax request.
However, board discussion ensued about the uncertainties of the county’s total valuation and the board’s desire to pay off the bond more quickly than required using funds accumulated in the bond redemption fund.
The reserve in the bond redemption fund now is about $1.2 million. The total current bond debt is $16.5 million, which is due for total payoff by 2028. On a motion by Tom Allen, the BOE voted unanimously to keep the bond mills at 2.869.
In personnel actions, the board accepted the resignations of Julie Bowman as the high school volleyball coach and Jason Browning as the high school baseball coach. Both cited multiple obligations and family as reasons for their resignations.
Also, regarding personnel, the board approved Holly Knowles as a volunteer assistant to the Barone Middle School (BMS) girls basketball team and student Alex Murray as a part-time information technology assistant to Steve Tobin, the district’s IT director.
The board had also received summary charts of the district’s results on the state PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) tests taken by students early last spring. These results had been embargoed until Friday.
Superintendent Chris Selle stated that the test results provided the district with a first PARCC baseline on which to build student performance improvement. Generally, the PARCC test results across the state were low as these tests were more vigorous and of a form with which the students were not familiar.
Selle said that overall Meeker’s students were above the statewide averages for math and below for language arts. This is directly opposite of the results Selle reported last month in his overview of Meeker student achievement.
Selle reminded the board that the high number of “opt-outs” and students not giving the PARCC tests their best efforts tend to skew the total test results.
BMS Principal Jim Hanks reported to the board that the middle school’s Biggest Buck and Biggest Bull Elk contest had been won by Dax Sheridan, who had the best of six bucks, and Jeremy Woodward, having had the best of three bulls. This annual contest is sponsored by Strawberry Creek Outfitters.
Hanks and Meeker High School Principal Amy Chinn both reported having more than a dozen students with perfect attendance records so far this fall. At the same time, each school, they said, has about an equal number of kids with poor attendance records.
Chinn has initiated “attendance contracts” with some of the latter students, and that seems to be working well, she said. Attendance records at the district’s three schools continue to be at 94 percent for the elementary and middle schools while the high school is at 93 percent. Selle reported attendance is not as good for seniors.
Meeker Elementary School (MES) Principal Kathy Collins reported that the MES accountability committee is looking for a non-parent to serve on the committee. State law requires a non-parent community member to be on building accountability committees.
In other business, the board accepted the preliminary audit, which must be completed by the end of the month and submitted to the state. District administration and representative BOE members will be meeting with the auditor in the coming weeks.
The board also certified that the district website would be the official public notice location, but confirmed that they would also continue to post notices in the Herald Times and at the post office.
The BOE was at full strength Tuesday as newly elected member Bob Dorsett has returned from his science leadership courses on the Sea of Cortez with the National Outdoor Leadership School. The educational trip had kept Dorsett from attending the November board meeting.
The board concluded business by signing a condolence card to be sent to the Big Sandy School District in solidarity for their loss of seventh grade Simla Junior High student Wesley Maranville, who collapsed during a basketball game last week and died.
They also wished board president Bud Ridings the best for his birthday.