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Bessemer school board sets budget


Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

THE MEMBERS of the Bessemer board of education review the agenda items and truth in taxation material Monday evening in Bessemer. Seated from left to right are Jim Partanen, Anna Talaska, Bob Berg, Annette Lillie, Chris Bergquist, and Dave Radovich. The board settled the budget and discussed possible ways ahead in the future.


Bessemer — The Bessemer Area School District board of education met Monday after holding a Truth in Taxation meeting to discuss next years millage and debt retirement rate. The board set the Non-Homestead Operating Millage at 17.9694, which according to Chris Bergquist has not changed in years and set the A.D. Johnston debt retirement millage at 2.45.

Jim Partanen, briefing for the finance committee highlighted the 2016-17 Food Service budget came in with $278 in the black, which none of the school board members could remember having happened in years. As a group, the board seemed pleasantly astonished because the general fund is necessary to cover the overages in the food budget most years, but not this past one.

The Athletics Budget for the 2017-18 year is set at $114,037, with a reduction of $34, 551 of expected revenue, for a total cost to the general fund of $79,486. Bergquist highlighted the anticipated fund balance for the end of July 2016 as being $548,636, which according to Dave Radovich and the board is a healthy sum. The budget for the 2017-18 school year is set at $3,781,129, with expected revenue for the district being $3,641,812, leaving a $139,317 shortfall for next year.

The board expects the numbers will change as far as funding goes once the state finalizes their budget, but is confident the district is close with this budget. If everything goes as expected, the district will still have an anticipated fund balance of $409, 319 by June 2018. Radovich pointed out one of the primary reasons for the shortfall in next years budget is the hiring of 1.5 new teachers.

Anna Talaska, speaking for the Personnel Committee, said Tim France had requested his food service and athletic director contract be split to represent both duties instead of being on the same contract. Talaska said they are still working on the language and finalizing the contracts.

Jay Saari, head custodian, provided the board an update on summer projects and scheduling. Saari said they have been doing a lot of work on Massie Field, using the $5,000 grant from the booster club and the $5,000 matching figure from the school. The clam shell is painted and Dick Matrella, according to Saari put a new roof on the ticket booth while also painting it. Saari has plans to replace two non-functioning drinking faucets in the Washington School and repair the front steps and entrance.

Radovich described the potential of using a sinking fund to generate revenue for the school to make repairs and buy equipment. According to Radovich, a sinking fund lasts 1-10 years and the revenue generated by the new tax are designated for specific budget items. Radovich said each mill, if assessed, would generate $60,000 for the district.

The board must decide if they would like to pursue a sinking fund for the November ballot, with approved language, by August 15. Or, if the board would prefer pursuing another bond they can also do that Radovich said, but they should not pursue both.

Richard Matrella’s resignation from the football coaching staff was accepted by the board and Justin Blake was hired as his replacement, leaving the team with the allotted four coaches. Radovich closed the session by informing the board of a grievance that has been filed against the district, but Radovich said he denied the grievance, which forwards it to the board.

Radovich said the person filing the grievance made a request for the board to select one member and have that member and Radovich mediate the grievance. The grievance is expected to be heard and resolved by the end of July.


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