Boyle BOE approves tax increase, hears Woodlawn goals

Published 9:21 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

By Fiona Morgan

The Boyle County Board of Education approved a 0.4 cent increase on tax rates at their meeting on Sept. 21.

Email newsletter signup

Superintendent Mark Wade said that with changes in property valuation, changes in funding of the district, and inflation, he recommended a slight tax increase. It will be a 4% increase in anticipated revenue, not a 4% increase in overall taxes. There will be a 0.4 cent increase in taxes with exonerations; the rate for motor vehicles will remain at 53.9; and the utility rate will be 3%.

The board also reviewed a working budget for the 2023–24 school year. The district is in the tentative budget phase, and they’re waiting until they can determine final salary numbers, tax rates, SEEK funding, etc. to have more solid numbers.

The total overall budget is about $41 million for the district, with the overall general fund at about $32 million. The beginning balance is about $3.6 million. Expenses are at $30 million, and contingency is at $2.21 million.

SEEK funding increased slightly by about $19,000. It’s increasing due to current enrollment, for a total of $11.1 million.

Woodlawn’s Big 5

Woodlawn Principal Jennifer Pierson and Assistant Principal John Elliott shared the strategic plan for the 23-24 school year. The “Big 5” for Woodlawn Elementary are Student Engagement, Continuous Improvement Structures, Culture Building, Community Bridging and School Safety.

1: Student engagement

One way Woodlawn is increasing engagement is through implementing components of the science of reading with instruction achieved in phonics, phonetic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

They work on eight math practices in procedural skills, conceptual thinking, and real world applications. They do writing across curriculum areas, and are integrating science and social studies standards across the curriculum.

2: Continuous improvement structures

Woodlawn is refining how they analyze classroom data by how they describe, design, predict and prescribe using student data. Elliott said they collect data to tell a story, and to help reach every student with different needs. The school is ensuring differentiation practices to prioritize prescriptive instruction to meet the needs of all students.

They continue to develop student ownership habits through student-led self assessment and progress monitoring, and maximizing instructional time with a sense of urgency.

3: Culture building

For school culture, they’re designing professional learning community time that’s devoted to improving ongoing instructional practices and curriculum. Elliott said teachers have to look at themselves as learners to connect more with students. The professional learning community consists of groups of teachers honing around different subjects to learn more about them and come up with ideas, essentially teaching the teachers.

Woodlawn is also working with vertically aligned teams of people from pre-k to 5th grade to have conversations that impact different aspects of the school.

4: Community bridging

To help bring a sense of the larger community to students, they are partnering with community members to support student learning and success; and partnering with parents to create strong connections between home and school.

They showcase student learning with a student showcase in the spring, Donuts with Grownups in the fall, Veterans Day speakers, reading mentors, and a first responders parade on 9/11 where students hold up banners to honor the visiting first responders.

“That’s what it looks like to make our kids feel like we’re part of a community, it’s beyond just the four walls of the school,” Pierson said. “When you talk about community partnerships and bridging it, you’re talking about realizing that it takes way more than us in the building.”

5: Safety

The school is currently revisiting and reviewing safety plans with all team members to establish clear communications and expectations. They’re also in the process of activating a new door alarm.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the Certified Appeals Panel for the 2023-24 year. To represent the district is Steve Karnser, and Chelsea Clark is the alternate. Representing all teachers is McKinley Rush and Brittany McCowan. Jennifer Fowler is the alternate.

• Appointed Board Member Jesse Johnson to the calendar committee for a two year term, and the district planning committee for a two year term.

• Approved a final payment for Branscum – W. Rogers, LLC for the Boyle County Middle School Construction Project for $31,500.

• Approved a payment for Brett Construction Co. for the Boyle County High School Softball Construction Project, for $53,082.

• Approved the sale of a surplus school bus to Danville Christian Academy for $1,500.

• The next meeting will be a special-called meeting. It will be held on Oct. 12 in the library at Junction City Elementary School at 7 p.m.