Tomah Area School District voters who attend next month’s annual meeting will be asked to approve a 2017-18 budget that contains a mill rate decrease.

The Tomah School Board voted 6-0 Monday to send the budget to the Aug. 28 meeting during its regular monthly meeting at Robert Kupper Learning Center.

The budget reduces the mill rate from $8.47 per $1,000 of property value to $8.38. That represents a tax reduction of $9.05 for a $100,000 property.

The total tax levy of $13.4 million is projected to increase by .41 percent, but a projected 1.5 percent increase in district-wide property value allows the mill rate to drop.

School district business manager Greg Gaarder said there is little change from the initial budget that was presented to the board last month.

The vote at the annual meeting is advisory. The board will take a binding vote in October after lawmakers in Madison complete the state budget process and the board gets final figures on enrollment and property value.

Board members also closed the books on the 2016-17 budget cycle. The fund balance rose $6,400 and stands at just under $4.5 million.

On another budget item, the board kept substitute teacher pay at $120 per day. Superintendent Cindy Zahrte said the rate is comparable to other districts in the area.

In other busisness, the board:

Approved a change to the school district’s activities code to prohibit participation from any student carrying a failing grade. The previous code allowed for one F if the student maintained a minimum grade-point average.

Approved changes to the student handbooks, including a provision that prohibits students from using cellphones during class time. Students can still use cellphones during lunch breaks and time between classes.

Reviewed a request from the city of Tomah for an easement to construct a pedestrian trail. The easement is sought on the north end of the former Steinhoff property, where the district owns 30 acres of land that is used as soccer fields. The district took no action, but Gaarder said he anticipates no problem granting the easement.

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Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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