Board adopts proposed $28.7 million budget for 2021-22 school year

Proposed budget maintains programming; tax levy under ‘cap’

The Stillwater Board of Education adopted a proposed $28,717,619 budget for the 2021-22 school year at their April 13 meeting. The proposed budget preserves existing district programs and services and includes a tax levy increase that is below the state-mandated cap.

Vote date and time
District residents will vote on the proposed budget on Tuesday, May 18, from 12-9 p.m. in the district auditorium.

Spending under the proposed 2021-22 school year budget would increase by $2,535,641, or 9.68% over the current-year budget. Much of the increase would cover rising costs associated with salaries, employee pensions and benefits, as well as state and federal mandated programs and services. In addition, debt service payments associated with the recently completed capital project are set to begin next year.

The district also plans to purchase three new school buses for $350,000 as part of the budget and as outlined in the district’s multi-year fleet replacement plan. No debt will be issued for this purchase.

Levy change is below the cap
The proposed 4.36% tax levy increase—the total amount of money a school district can raise through property taxes— is below Stillwater’s maximum allowable tax levy increase as determined by the state’s tax levy “cap” formula (4.66%). District officials estimate that the school tax rates, which are the amount of taxes residents pay per $1,000 of assessed property value, will increase by 2.06%. Final school tax rates are set in August.

Maintaining programs while being fiscally responsible
“The proposed budget maintains programs and services in our schools, while remaining fiscally responsible to district residents,” Superintendent Patricia Morris said. “Our priority remains to provide high quality programs for our students and innovative professional development opportunities for our staff. We will be able to do so within the proposed spending plan.”

Concession stand proposal
When district residents vote on the proposed budget on Tuesday, May 18, they will also vote on a proposition to construct a concession stand at the high school. The proposed 30 foot by 24 foot concession building would be built on the concrete staging pad near the middle/high school athletic field. It will be a masonry building with a brick veneer exterior to match the existing MS/HS and elementary school buildings, along with a shingle roofing system.

The building will have four serving windows with roll down shutters, countertop and cabinets, a sink, and electrical power for lighting and equipment (beverage coolers, refrigerator, freezer, etc.) to accommodate food service and storage. A small mechanical room will house the electrical service and water heater. The building will also have an outside grilling area, as well as a seating and viewing area. It will be handicap accessible, with paved walkways leading to the building. As a seasonal use building, it will not be heated.

Currently, the district uses a large tent for outdoor food service to support student activities. Supplies are stored in a temporary trailer. The proposed building would provide a much cleaner, efficient and safer facility for this use.

Board of Education election
On May 18, voters will also elect four members to the Stillwater Board of Education. Three are ‘at-large’ seats with three-year terms that run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2024, and one will be a two-year term, to run from May 19, 2021 to June 30, 2023, for a seat vacated early by a board member.

The three persons receiving the three highest number of votes will be elected to the three-year terms, and the person receiving the fourth highest number of votes will serve the two-year term. The candidates, in ballot order, are Shay Williams, Jon Mueller, Paul Lilac and Jimel Williams. Read more about the candidates.

Also on the ballot
On May 18, district residents will also vote on a proposed budget and trustees for the Stillwater Public Library, which are separate and distinct from the school district’s finances and governance, but appear on the ballot annually.