School board OKs tax levy increase


Members of the Waterloo Board of Education on Monday night addressed a nearly full room of community members regarding a proposed property tax increase for the Waterloo School District.

With Superintendent Jim Helton absent, 10-year board member Dwight Schaefer led a presentation on the proposed increase.

For the tax year 2012, the district saw a 4.2 percent decrease in revenue from property taxes and a loss of nearly half a million dollars. For the 2013 tax year, the board is predicting a continued loss. Because of this, there is a need for a tax levy increase.

Schaefer said it is difficult to set a tax levy because the board has to project what they think it will need to be without actually knowing what the local equalized assessed value will be.

“We have to levy a higher number so we can extend to the district what is due to the district,” Schaefer said. “We set our budget on what we think that will be.”

Corporate and special purpose property taxes will see a 7.38 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.

Property taxes extended for debt service and public building commission leases will see a 2.48 percent increase from the previous year.

Total property taxes extended or abated will see a 6.63 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.

The board voted to approve the levy.

After discussion on the tax levy increase, Waterloo Junior High School Principal Nick Schwartz reviewed how the transition from middle school to junior high school scheduling will be initiated.

“This may not be the ideal situation, but it’s a decision the board has to make,” Schwartz said.

In the current middle school concept, Waterloo students are part of a “team.” Some teachers teach five sections a day and work together with the curriculum, while others teach six sections.

In the junior high school schedule, all teachers will teach six sections and there will be fewer teachers required.

“We will require three fewer certified teaching positions next year,” he said. “But the kids’ schedules will mostly stay the same.”

Schwartz said this plan will save the district approximately $150,000 initially and would still allow for reasonable class sizes.

“We hope to not do this all at once so that we don’t impact class sizes and negatively impact our staff as well,” Schwartz said.

The board also reviewed the new Common Core curriculum and how it is affecting Waterloo classes.

John Schmieg, curriculum coordinator, introduced the board and meeting attendees to, where they can view how the district matches up with other schools across the state and region.

Judith McDermott, who teaches eighth grade math, demonstrated how her students are learning to think more critically and get more involved in math lessons because of the Common Core standards.

Also at the meeting:

• High school assistant wrestling coach and junior high girls head track coach extra-duty positions were approved for the 2013-14 school year.

• The WHS Course Guide will be approved at the Dec. 16 board meeting.

• Construction and improvements are being made to the high school pond, and it will be filled with water again soon.

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