RIVER FALLS – On Sept. 20, River Falls School District held its annual electors meeting where they discussed future goals and plans for the district as well as approved a new tax levy for the …
RIVER FALLS – On Sept. 20, River Falls School District held its annual electors meeting where they discussed future goals and plans for the district as well as approved a new tax levy for the 2021-22 school year.
Superintendent Jamie Benson gave a presentation on the state of the district. In this presentation, Benson reviewed the district’s mission statement and provided areas for opportunity and growth in the coming school years.
“We have felt very aligned with our current priorities,” Benson said. “The priorities help us to make budgetary decisions, they help us to improve upon our curriculum and on our instructional practices in the classroom.”
The areas Benson felt the district might be challenged and given room for opportunity included COVID-19 mitigation, staffing retention, enrollment and “politics” surrounding the potential of Critical Race Theory being added to curriculum.
During his presentation, Benson also gave information relating to the school forest and an event being held on Oct. 12 that will allow for conversations about the forest’s potential future uses.
Director of Finance and Facilities Chad Smurawa presented the 2021-22 school year budget and proposed tax levy. The 2021-22 levy is set to be $20,536,040. River Falls School District has a steady history of having lower mil rates and more successful financial performance than neighboring districts._ “The school tax rate is equated on a per $1,000 value of your home. The most recent data from the last year shows that we are solidly at the bottom compared to other districts,” he said.
The mil rate is shown to be $8.29 during 2020-2021 compared to the much higher rates such as Prescott currently at $10.72. The proposed tax levy will lower that mil rate to $7.98 and continues to maintain the strong fund balance in River Falls._ “The levy that we are proposing here tonight is approximately $200,000 higher than last year, which relatively speaking within the last dozen years is relatively lower than the average as well,” Smurawa said.
The electors approved the proposed tax levy as well as the annual salaries for school board members, which are $3,200 for board members and $3,600 for the president, clerk and treasurer. _ Following the approval and presentation of the next school year budget, the meeting adjourned.