Board approves budget


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The Iowa City School Board on Tuesday evening unanimously approved the superintendent’s recommendation for the district’s fiscal 2015budget.

The recommendation included a proposed budget of slightly more than $148.8 million and details of what the district should expect to see in the upcoming year, emphasizing a focus on instruction.

Craig Hansel, the district’s chief financial officer, said 80 percent of the suggested budget would go toward instruction, something board members were pleased to hear.

Hansel, who presented the proposal to the board, it projects a bright future for the district and Iowa City community in general.

“Basically, what it says is we’re very fortunate to have a good student growth and a good business environment here,” he said.

According to the predictions, enrollment is expected to continue to grow. Additionally, property values will remain “strong,” Hansel said.

He said property values under this budget will increase 4.7 percent over a 10-year average, at an annual rate.

This year’s proposal would increase property taxes by 12 cents per $1,000 assessed valuations.

Board member Chris Lynch was pleased with the budget in general, but he said the most important issue is keeping an emphasis on education and instruction.

“[We need to] manage costs to focus them in the classroom,” he said.

Lynch said achieving a sustainable budget was another goal they should aim to reach.

“It’s a step toward a sustainable model and that's what we’re looking for,” he said. “I think the biggest [thing] is the spending growth … we need to spend time on [achieving] sustainable spending.”

Lynch also said he is satisfied with maintaining stable tax means presented in the proposed budget.
We saw going forward that we should see a stable tax rate,” he said.

Board President Sally Hoelscher said she thought the recommendation was a positive one that hopefully will lead to success in the future.

“I’m always impressed with the work the financial [office] does, and I think it’s impressive that we’ve been able to decrease our portion of property taxes over the years and keep them low,” she said.

Hoelscher said the next step will come when the budget is officially publicized. Following the publicity, the budget will be discussed at a public hearing on April 8, to be officially reported to the state on April 15.

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