The Joppa-Maple Grove (J-MG) school board got its first look at the district's tentative tax levy from J-MG Superintendent Dr. Vicki Artman, who provided a spreadsheet illustrating the tentative tax levy for this year, payable in fiscal year 2021.

Artman told board member she has recommended an extension of 4.97 percent.

The district will again have a withholding from the county. She said next year it should be $20,182.

Artman recommends increasing the amount in the educational fund and in the special education fund.

The 4.97 percent increase is close to the maximum allowed by law, without having a truth in taxation hearing. The Consumer Price Index this year is 1.9 percent, which is a decrease over the previous year.

The total funds levied are $83,866 -- an increase over last year's extension of $79,620.

In Artman's report she said the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) and new property grown has traditionally only been around 1 to 2 percent increases.

"The actual extension will probably be closer to $1,720,864 compared to the prior year extension of $1,687,864, or an increase of $33,000," she said.

The board has a month to review the data before approving a final version at it's Monday, Dec. 16 meeting. The board must have the tax levy filed at Massac County Clerk's Office by the last Tuesday in December. Artman will file the adopted levy the Tuesday after the December board meeting.

In the financial report, Artman pointed out the district's financials are representative of a typical November and says they have received about 48 percent of the anticipated revenues and have expended about 28 percent, while they are 33 percent through the fiscal year.

Artman told the board she had applied for a kitchen grant in the amount of $32,000, which was not the maximum amount. She said the kitchen has a couple of walk-in freezers, which are 49 years old.

She noted a change to one bus route, which is due to a couple of new students who live near the Johnson County line. The change in the route has added an additional 20 minutes to that particular route.

The school will get three new heating and air conditioning unites over spring break, and Artman said the high school's gym floor will be refinished over the Christmas break.

Joppa Jr.-Senior High School and Maple Grove Elementary Principal Terri Waddell gave the board handouts regarding the Illinois School Report Card data. She warned the board when looking at the school's numbers they should know when looking at the state report card, the numbers are completely different and they cannot be compared.

She said last year Maple Grove was exemplary, and this year it received a commendable. According to Waddell, there are so many mathematical equations and formulas involved in determining a school's summative designation. She told the board this month is an overview for the board to review, and next month she would talk more about it.

Artman pointed out commendable designations does mean those schools are performing in the top 90 percent of all schools in the state.

In other business the board:

• Heard from Aaliyah Latham, Beta Club secretary, who shared a PowerPoint presentation about what the club did last year and several of the activities the club is planning for this year. Latham said this year's theme is 'Beta as far as the eye can see.' She said there are a lot of members who plan to go to state this year.

• Gave authorization to apply for the Property Tax Relief Grant. Artman said Joppa-Maple Grove ranks about 470 out of 868 schools, so the chances of the district receiving a grant are slim. However, Artman and the board were in agreement the board should try to take advantage of it.

• Adopted a resolution regarding the estimated amounts of the tax levy.

• Approved several district policies, which had minor updates and wording changes.

• Hired Betty Fry as part-time school nurse.

• And, gave approval to increase Joppa Senior High School course offerings to make a construction trades course as an offering as a pilot program. Artman explained to the board that School Resource Officer Joe Basham has recived his provisional certificate and able to teach the class.

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