The Keokuk School Board has signed off on the district’s roughly $32-million spending plan for the upcoming school year.
One of the highlights is the fact that the property tax rate will drop by 73-cents, or nearly 4%. The district’s share of property tax bills are not expected to fall by 4%, though, because of the residential rollback.
The budget also includes an expansion of Keokuk’s preschool program for 4-year-olds. The addition of a second classroom will allow an increase in enrollment from 30 to as many as 80 preschoolers starting in the fall.
The board did cut more than $650,000 from next year’s budget several weeks before the spending plan was finalized. The cuts include full- and part-time teaching positions, multiple guidance counselors, and the closing of Wells-Carey Elementary.
Superintendent Lora Wolff says the administration must still identify another $80,000 to cut. She says if tangible options are not found, the district will use reserve funds to cover the hole in next year’s budget.
The $80,000 was higher than anticipated because the Keokuk School Board chose not to eliminate a part-time science teacher at the High School.
The budget does include money for pay raises as contract talks continue between the district and the Keokuk Education Association.