By Sue Moore
Vicksburg School District voters will go to the polls Nov. 7 to decide a single ballot issue: renewal of a tax on non-homestead property, a levy of $18 per $1,000 taxable value for five years. Rejection would cost the district $1.8 million in state funding.
The tax is levied on commercial and industrial property, multiple-family residential buildings and vacation and second homes.
School Supt. Charles Glaes explained, “All operation funding for schools has come from the state since 1994. However, the state will not give a district the full allowance for each student if we do not levy this millage. If the millage were to fail, we would lose approximately 1.8 million dollars in funding from the state, with no way to make up for it. That works out to about seven percent of our operating budget each year.”
Glaes emphasized that the millage has been in effect since 1994; no new taxes are being levied. He also emphasized that the levy does not affect the taxes on a resident’s main home.
In other business, the school board heard a report from Steve Fryling, the district’s communications specialist, about the crisis management system he has helped to install in the school buildings. The Crisis Go application is moving to cell phones with any staff member enabled to push a panic button which goes to an administrator with a check list. It will have a map of the buildings with prescribed tornado and fire escape routes. The office staff has the function in place now along with the school resource officer.
Don Puckett, director of technology, reported that doors to each of the district’s five school buildings are locked and have an entry buzzer system in place.
The student count for 2017-18 was pegged at 2,644, down 21 students from last year but up 11 from the estimate used for budget projections.
There are 538 students at Sunset Lake Elementary where the board meeting was held. Principal Amie McCaw presented progress in the “Leader in Me” journey which Sunset teachers and students embarked upon in 2016-17 school year. The mission of being “lifelong learners and lifelong leaders,” was based on the teaching of educator Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Trustee Dave Schriemer noted that families “need to understand what we are trying to do, how we want to engage parents in learning and how we can improve in this area.
“We want to concentrate on critical thinking and be more data-focused. We want our standards to be clear on what we want students to learn. It’s fantastic to see the kids take ownership of their education. I was impressed upon visiting last spring when the kids did all of their own presentations. It will be interesting to see how this progresses to the middle school as these students advance.”