RIVER FALLS — The School District of River Falls approved the 2019-2020 tax levy, mill rate and board member salaries at an annual Sept. 23 meeting.

  • A tax levy passed of $20,068,686 which is a 4.8% change from last school year, with a mill rate of $9.05, a 0.65% increase from last school year.

  • Salaries for board members were approved at $3,200 with president, clerk and treasurer at $3,600 annually.

Other 2019-2020 budget items and topics included in discussion:

  • State equalization aid is projected to increase by nearly $900,000 this year, due mostly to the rising number of new students according to director of finance and facilities management Chad Smurawa. Total state aid is budgeted around $20,531,482.

  • Savings have resulted from the 2018 $48 million referendum, creating flexibility in future budgets for projects, Smurawa said.

  • Local sources of revenue are budgeted to decrease by 0.20% and state sources increase by 0.40%. Federal sources are budgeted to drop by 0.20%.

  • Salary and benefits for district staff expenditures are budgeted to increase by 1.8%.

  • Superintendent Jamie Benson presented ways the district is sticking to its mission statement and goals, including focusing on emotional health and support by increasing counseling and school psychologists this year.

The regular school board meeting, prior to the annual meeting, discussed the following:

  • The district wants to have further discussions about land purchases which would gain access to the school forest.

  • Mike Miller had resigned from the school board as the treasurer and Mike Thompson appointed to the vacant position. Stacy Johnson Myers was recognized as the new chairperson for the Finance and Facilities Committee.

  • Policies approved on second reading: 342.3 - Rule Gifted and Talented Identification Procedures; 343.42 - Early College Credit Program and Rule; 343.43 - Part-Time Public School Enrollment; new policy 343.44 - Procedures for Course Applications through the Technical College Course Program (Start College Now Program) and Rule.