MPCSD faces nearly $800,000 in budget cuts
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
Tough conversations are in the future for the Mt. Pleasant Community School District’s Board of Education as the district will look to cut somewhere between $700,000 - $800,000 from next fiscal year’s budget.
The district took the first step of attempting to pare down the budget Monday night when they approved early retirement incentives for certified (licensed) as well as classified (non-licensed) staff.
“We talked about our goal (during the finance committee meeting) about this being the first step in being able to make some reductions of perhaps $700,000-$800,000 to our general fund,” said Superintendent John Henriksen.
The early retirement incentive is for certified and classified staff between the ages of 55-65 who have worked for the district for at least 15 years.
According to documentation, certified employees who accept the early retirement package can choose to receive an amount of $20,000 paid out equally, once on Aug. 15, 2017 and once on Aug. 15, 2018, or the employee can choose to have the continuation of health insurance benefits. The district will reduce the cost of the premium for the district sponsored health insurance plan by a maximum of $550 per month, up to the age of 65 or until the employee becomes eligible for Medicare or dies, according to the early retirement application.
For classified employees, the payout will be $10,000, over the course of two years, or their health insurance premium maximum would be $275 per month.
Henriksen said the early retirement payout would come from the district’s management fund, not the general fund.
Twenty-one letters were sent out to eligible employees. Board President David McCoid said he recalled hearing eight or nine employees were interested in the early retirement option.
Interested employees have until 4 p.m., on Feb. 15 to submit their resignation and request for early retirement. Henriksen said he would expect the resignations and requests for early retirement to be approved before the board’s workshop, in a special session, on Feb. 20.
During the meeting, the board also approved a 28E agreement with the City of Mt. Pleasant for the construction and maintenance of water quality improvement practices at the Mapleleaf Athletic Complex’s parking lot. The district will contribute $250,000 toward the project. The approximate $1 million project will be funded by a $500,000 revolving loan from the State and $250,000 from the City.
Henriksen said the City will be responsible for the design and construction of the parking lot and the district will perform inspection, maintenance and repair of the permeable concrete parking lot.
In other news, Henriksen said the district recently received three new heart AED Defibrillators.
Henriksen said Henry County Health Center, on behalf of the school district, wrote a grant for the life-saving equipment. The superintendent said in addition to receiving the three new machines, faculty and staff in the district would also be receiving some additional training with the equipment.
Lastly, the board received a fiscal year 2016 audit review from Ed Chabal, director of business and finance. The board also approved the At-risk/Dropout Modified Supplemental request amount as well as approving a fundraiser for the Chess Club.
The next regular meeting of the Mt. Pleasant School Board will be held on Monday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m., in the High School media center. In February, the board will also host an advocacy workshop for the Iowa Association of School Boards regarding the penny sales tax. Before that, however, the board will hold a work session on Monday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m., in the High School media center. The work session will focus on air conditioning the elementary schools.