The Harrisonville School Board kicked off its Aug. 27 with a public tax levy hearing. Board members voted unanimously to approve the levy for the 2013-14 fiscal year as follows: general fund, $4.2072; special revenue fund, $ .0000; capital projects fund, $ .0000; and debt retirement fund, $ .8700 for a total levy of $5.0772.
In addition to an MSBA delegate update by Board Member David Kauffman regarding Missouri School Boards Association activities as well as a briefing by President Deb Welhoff on the Harrisonville Public School Foundation, board members also heard an evaluation of the Special Education department and handled several other regular business items.
After years of service as the board representative for the Harrisonville Public School Foundation, Marie Vallee has stepped down, and Deb Welhoff has taken her place. "I just want to sincerely thank Marie for all of her years of service with this group," said Welhoff, who recently attended the foundation's academic excellence night at the high school and was impressed by the event. "I know that you have been a valuable asset to them over the years, and everyone here thanks you for that."
One hot button item on the agenda related to House Bill 253, a proposed piece of legislation vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this summer that would change the laws regarding the streamlined sales and use tax agreement, tax amnesty, the community development district tax, income tax, sales and use taxes, and the transportation development tax. Characterizing the bill as "fiscally irresponsible," Superintendent Bryan McDonald expressed significant concern over HB 253 and urged the board to approve the resolution as presented, which urges the General Assembly to sustain the veto. McDonald explained that the bill could cost the Harrisonville school district up to $739,561, jeopardize the ability of the state to fund public education, higher education, and other critical state services, prohibit the district from investing in local initiatives such as 1-to-1 devices, Robotics, and Project Lead the Way, and threaten the credit rating of the state and increase borrowing costs for the state and the district. Board members voted in favor of this resolution in a roll call vote.
"If this goes through, districts all across the state will be impacted," Board member Marie Vallee said. "We are still dealing with cuts we had to make years ago due to loss in funding. The other thing is this bill puts the credit rating of the state at risk. If that goes down, it will cost us more in interest every time we want to pass a bond issue. It will definitely affect education. If we suffer a decrease in funding at both the local and state level, it is almost insurmountable as a school board."
In other business, the board voted to approve Board Policy BBFA as presented by MSBA and the 2013 substitute list as presented.