Tax levy, state report card discussed 

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The 2022 tax levy, repairs at Rogers Elementary and performance on the Illinois Report Card were among the larger topics of conversation at the most recent Waterloo School Board meeting on Nov. 21.

Waterloo Superintendent of Schools Brian Charron led the discussion on the district’s tax levy, which was ultimately approved by the board.

On a copy of the tax levy certificate shared at the meeting, the total amount to be levied stands at $20,079,336.

Charron noted that, as the increase in the tax levy is less than 5 percent from last year, the district is not required to hold a hearing on the levy.

Following the meeting, Charron said the district is expected to require additional funds accounted for in the levy for a number of reasons.

He said the district is currently deficit spending, indicating a need for additional funds next year.

The district also hopes to remain competitive in regard to teacher pay.

As the district will have to contend with the loss of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, several positions that were added thanks to those funds will have to be addressed, possibly with funding coming from other sources.

Charron said the property tax rate is not expected to increase as a result of the tax levy.

“We need to take advantage of what local property tax dollars are available to us,” Charron said. “What we’re asking for, we’re not anticipating that the tax rate will go up. We’re hoping to keep roughly the same tax rate.”

Charron also brought attention to ongoing problems in the office at Rogers Elementary. He said the floor of the office has experienced some settling since a little over a year ago.

Charron noted that following an investigation upon the discovery of this issue, a number of clogs and collapses were found in the school’s storm and sewer drains.

He added the settling could become more of a problem with a potentially rainy and snowy winter ahead.

The district has attempted a few fixes previously, and the board ultimately voted in favor of allotting $95,808 toward repair efforts.

Charron said the situation isn’t dire, but he does hope to avoid further stress and cracking in the floor, saying the cost of repairs is a “minor investment now to prevent major repairs from having to be done later.”

The board also addressed results on the Illinois Report Card, a statewide assessment of schools done by the Illinois State Board of Education each year.

The report was previously released last month, with district curriculum coordinators John Schmieg and Jessica Washausen organizing the data for a report presented at the meeting.

Schmieg noted the district’s overall positive performance on the evaluation compared to other districts of a similar size in the area.

In the report’s “Points of Pride” section, Schmieg noted the district’s performance above the state average on all standardized assessments along with a number of other examples of student proficiency in English language arts, math and science assessments.

“Compared to other schools and certainly to the state, we are meeting and exceeding standards in our student performance,” Schmieg said.

Also at the meeting, local resident Tony Grasso spoke to the board primarily to express concerns about district-wide access to student disciplinary actions.

Grasso expressed his thoughts about the recent school shooting in St. Louis and similar scares.

He further said it seems like district parents are out of the loop as far as disciplinary measures in the school are concerned.

Charron responded to Grasso, noting that two particular laws concerning student privacy prevent the district from publicly disclosing such actions.

Charron said after the meeting he was not currently aware of any recent concerns or threats in the Waterloo School District that Grasso might have been alluding to.

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