School tax levy remains unchanged

Adam Larck

The tax levy for Dunlap School District No. 323 will remain at 4.17.

The board of education voted Nov. 9 not to raise the levy rate to 4.20.

“As our community has been experiencing impacts from economic decline, the board of education has decided to hold the tax rate steady,” Superintendent Dr. Jay Marino said. “This decision should help keep property tax increases at a minimum.”

During discussions, Marino said the difference between the two rates is about $175,000 in additional revenue, which he called a relatively small return.

“In addition, our public recently approved a tax increase in the referendum to build a new elementary school. Our decision is tied to our goals in our strategic plan including Goal 4, ‘to ensure a satisfying and productive partnership with families and the community;’ and Goal 5, ‘to obtain efficient, effective, and equitable use of resources.’”

Board President Bruce Hay added that he “thinks it sends a good signal” to the community by keeping the rate the same.

In other news, the board:

• Approved the addition of new courses at Dunlap High School.

The approved courses included: digital photography I as a one-semester course, removing the prerequisite of photo I for digital photography II, addition of trig/pre-calculus as a one-year course, addition of senior math as a one-semester course and the addition of AP statistics as a one-year course.

While the classes were added to the catalogue, they will only be offered if there is enough interest in a course by students.

However, even if interest is not large enough this year, Marino said the courses will likely be offered in the future as well.

If any of the courses have enough interest to be taught next year, the courses will be brought back before the board for approval of materials and staff in February.

• Heard an update from Mangieri Co. over construction at Hickory Grove.

The concrete has been poured for the cafeteria, and all areas but the gym floor were expected to be poured by Saturday.

The company added that they hope to have enough of the school closed in by winter to work inside.

• Heard a presentation from Dunlap High School representatives about prevention and intervention initiatives.

During the presentation, Principal Tom Welsh said the school has teamed with Bradley University to present Career Exploration for both seniors and juniors.

The representatives also talked about the cyber-bully program they used called “Pause Before You Post,” and about Red Ribbon Week.

• Approved new hires in the district.

Ryan Slocum will be an intramural soccer coach at both middle schools.

Jackie Gombert, Nicholas Howard and Daniel Ruffin were hired at Dunlap Middle School.

Robin Hunt and Lauren Scranton were hired at DHS.

John Mangers was hired as the substitute Director of Finance, and Frank Kawolsky and Kristin Bishop were moved from substitute to regular workers in the transportation department.