A special meeting of the Mount Vernon Community School District School was held on March 27, 2024.  The following topics were addressed during the meetings:

Approval Agenda:  The Board approved the agenda as presented.

Public Hearing on Property Tax Levels for Next Year:  One District patron posed a question related to what the increase will be to property taxes for community members for next year.  This information will be shared with those who requested it.  For next year, the property tax rate for the District will be slightly lower than the current year’s rate.   

Superintendent Report:  Dr. Batenhorst provided an overview of the District’s current financial reality, and offered thoughts regarding the process moving forward in addressing the District’s financial challenges.    

Public Comments:  Five staff and community members provided comments related to the possibility of reductions to the District’s benefits for its staff; advocating for keeping the cash benefit, as staff members rely on this to pay for health insurance and other personal expenses.       

Program Division

School Finance Presentation:  School finance expert Larry Sigel provided an overview of school finance protocols, and spoke specifically to the financial trends for the Mount Vernon Community School District.  Board members were able to ask questions related to the District’s current financial reality.        Natural Gas Contract:  Two contracts were approved by the Board related to the Iowa Local Government Risk Pool for its natural gas services.  This move allows the District to move its natural gas expenses to the Management Fund.  

Discussion and Action Related to Employee Benefits:  The Management Committee of the Board provided options related to the current benefits for the District’s employees, including changing the current cash benefit option to an option to use benefit money toward health insurance with no option to take the benefit as cash as has been the case in the past.  The Board approved changes to benefits where money can be used only toward the purchase of benefits offered by the District, and can no longer be used as a cash benefit.   

Discussion of Additional Financial Matters Related to Staff Compensation:  The Board discussed options to help mitigate the cash benefit loss to employees, and had preliminary discussions related to possible savings and efficiencies to address the current financial reality of the District.            

School Board Calendar:  The Board voted to keep the April 8th meeting as scheduled, and added an additional meeting on April 17th to discuss the District’s current financial reality.  Both meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.    

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the School Board is scheduled for Monday, April 8, 2024.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.