Taxes will remain the same under the proposed Union County School District budget for fiscal 2012-2013.
The 2012-2013 operating budget was presented as a first reading at Monday’s meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees by Financial Officer Lynn Lawson. The proposed $25,739,511 budget is balanced and does not require an increase in the millage rates. Currently, the district levies 48 mills for debt service and 119.9 mills for operations.
Lawson added that student enrollment totals and staffing levels are expected to remain unchanged from the current year.
“The only major changes are being determined by the state legislature,” Lawson said. “Published state budget projections have increased the Education Finance Act — the primary education funding source — to $2,012 per pupil. However, they have also mandated a 2 percent increase in salaries for all employees. In addition, the district will have to pay increased employer match portions for employee retirement and health benefits.”
Lawson pointed out that over 75 percent of the district’s operating revenue is from state sources, with just over 22 percent from local taxes and fee-in-lieu agreements. The Senate begins debate on May 15 about its version of the state budget.
Lawson asked board members to look over the draft so that when the final revenue figures are in they will be familiar with the budget. The district will make any changes required by the Senate and be prepared to present the budget for approval by the June 11 school board meeting.
Baseball, Softball Fields
The construction of the new practice fields at Union County High School could improve the home field advantage of the school’s baseball and softball teams.
During Monday’s meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees, the board received information from Vince Vanderford of McMillan-Pazdan-Smith and Chris Price of Blue Water Engineering in regards to the design of the baseball and softball practice fields at the high school.
Efforts to install practice fields for the UCHS baseball and softball teams have been ongoing for several months. For the current school year, the UCHS varsity baseball team practiced on the baseball field at the Jonesville Municipal Complex (formerly Jonesville High School). The UCHS softball team practiced at the South Hills Softball Complex.
Vanderford and Price echoed what Lawson had told the board during a previous meeting, expressing that drainage and wetland problems had been overcome. The architect and engineering companies will be able to work with the current topography, as opposed to having to work against it. Engineers will grade the area down 20 feet below the level of the current football practice field, creating a crater-like area, with an embankment all the way around it.
Designs were displayed and discussed illustrating the topographical survey results and the preferred placement of the fields relative to the existing campus layout. The fields will resemble the fields of the Timken Sports Complex — where the teams will play home games — to give baseball and softball players a true home field advantage.