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School Tax Rates Increase As District Valuation Drops



Christine Ziegler, treasurer of the Archbold Area School District, told board members at their Monday, Feb. 27 meeting that the total property tax valuation of the Archbold Area School District had decreased.

Ziegler said the district’s total tax value was about $199 million for tax year 2011, payable 2012.

Taxes are always paid one year behind the year they are assessed.

The $199 million figure represents a decrease of about 2%, or $5 million, from the district’s total property tax valuation for tax year 2010, payable 2011.

As a result, she said some taxes increased, depending on the value of the property being taxed.

Brett Kolb, Fulton County auditor, the school district total effective millage rate increased from 30.010778 for 2010 payable 2011, to 30.222772 for 2011 payable 2012. That’s an increase of .211942 mills.

For the owner of a home in the Archbold Area School District valued at $100,000, Kolb said the school district share of the tax bill went up $7.42 between tax year 2010, payable 2011, and 2011, payable 2012.

GAAP

During Ziegler’s report, Bob Aschliman, board member, noted that the Pettisville School district had changed its accounting procedure from GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Practices, to a cash basis format.

Stated reason for the change was cost-cutting.

Ziegler said the district has contracted with Sammy L. Stamm & Company, Lewis Center, for preparation of GAAP documents for the school auditors. The cost is $4,000 a year.

Ziegler said several school districts have converted to a cash-basis accounting system.

She said if Archbold converted to cash basis accounting, the auditors would make a note in their findings that the school district is not in compliance with state requirements, and fine the school district $750.

Since the fine is less than the cost of preparing the GAAP paperwork, the district saves money.

However, she said her ethical side was uncomfortable with being out of compliance.

“If we were looking intensely for cost savings, that would be one to throw out on the table and discuss,” she said.

David Deskins, district superintendent, said school district officials did look into going to cash-basis accounting in 2006 and 2007.

The board later approved a new three-year contract with the Lewis Center company to continue preparation of GAAP paperwork.

Ziegler said she was able to negotiate the contract so there is no increase in cost for the service.

Personnel

The school board met in executive session for about 30 minutes.

Stated reason for the secret session was to discuss the employment, appointment, and/or compensation of public employees.

No action resulted from the closed-door session.

The board approved a retirement request for Karen Ringenberg, sixth grade language arts teacher, effective May 31, 2012.

The board also accepted the resignation of Letty Reyes, a middle school custodian, effective Feb. 16.

In response to a question from John Downey, board member, Deskins said when a replacement for Reyes is hired, the board may adjust the person’s hours to cover evening sports events.

The move could result in cost savings, because the district now has to pay overtime rates to custodians to cover evening events.

The board also approved a measure accepting the tax amounts and rates as determined by the county budget commission.

Donation

Board members also approved two donations from anonymous donors.

One donation of $2,000 was to help pay for lunches for students in all three school buildings.

A second donation, of $200, was for elementary students.

Janet Wyse, board member, was absent.

The next meeting is Monday, March 19, 7 pm, in the Archbold High School Media Center.–David Pugh



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