WAPELLO — Wapello School District property owners will see a $1 decrease in the school district’s tax asking for fiscal 2020, school officials reported during the school board’s review of its proposed fiscal 2020 budget Wednesday.

District business manager Eric Small said the projected tax levy was currently $13.79 per $1,000 taxable valuation, although the state might make some small adjustments once it gets submitted.

Small and Superintendent Mike Peterson said the district was able to reduce the levy because the district’s student enrollment had been steady, and the state had approved additional state aid.

Peterson said the budget could have been increased by boosting the district’s management fund, but he and Small had agreed it would not be ethical. However, they also warned that if there is a student enrollment drop next year, the district could see a levy increase.

Meanwhile, the spending in the proposed budget is projected to be $10,027,576, with revenue forecasted to be $10,246,517.

The board agreed to hold an April 10 public hearing on the spending plan.

Improved sidewalk plan shared

In other action, Katie Hammond, a member of the Wapello Community Visioning Team, presented the board with a proposed sidewalk street improvement project the team is hoping to submit for grant funding.

Hammond said the current plan calls for a four-phase project to improve sidewalks around the high school and elementary campuses. The first phase would include two components and would represent the team’s first grant request, Hammond said.

Phase 1A would be a projected $12,000 proposal to construct a sidewalk and crosswalks along Cedar Street between Isett and Mechanic Streets. Phase 1B would extend that work along Mechanic Street from the swimming pool parking lot to either the watertower or a little beyond. That portion is projected to cost around $30,000.

Peterson said Phase 1B was one of the top priorities for the school district staff.

Hammond also described three other phases of the sidewalk/crosswalk improvement work. Phases 2 and 3 would extend sidewalks along portions of both sides of Pleasant Street from Cedar to the Dollar General store. Together those phases are projected to cost $70,000.

Phase 4 would extend a sidewalk along school property east of U.S. Highway 61 from Mechanic to Pleasant. Hammond said the cost estimate for that work was around $40,000.

The board also:

• Approved the 2019-20 school calendar on a 3-2 vote, with board president Duane Boysen and board member Matt Stewart objecting. The decision included holding elementary teacher-parent conferences in November.

• New hires approved included Katy Anderson, Pre-K Teacher; Kenna Greiner, assistant volleyball; Dave Griffin, assistant boys track; Steve Hahnbaum, assistant girls track; and Brittani Beeding, junior high softball. 

• Accepted an $11,660 bid for lawn care services from S&R Lawn Care, Muscatine.

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