Local News

The North Platte Public Schools Board of Education passed its 2019-20 budget and property tax request, both unanimously, on Monday at its regular meeting.

A public hearing Aug. 29 did not bring about any changes to the budget, despite a clerical error on the amount of the total valuation. The corrected figure further reduced the district’s property tax request by about $20,000, said Executive Director of Finance Stuart Simpson. Even before Monday’s meeting, the district was already set to collect less total property tax money for the first time in 14 years.

Several board members offered their support of the budget and the work done by all involved.

“This is something we’ve obviously discussed year round,” said board member Matt Pederson. “I think the general theme that’s popped up for me is how do we provide the best education for the best value.”

Pederson said he is satisfied this budget provides those opportunities.

“We obviously are always cognizant of our property tax request and where our budget is and trying to keep that as low as possible,” Pederson said. “At the same time we still have to be able to provide quality education for our students.”

He said that includes having the best possible administration and staff.

“I think this budget does that and the tax request is very reasonable,” Pederson said. “I’m happy to support it.”

Simpson said the budget process is not just what he and Superintendent Ron Hanson have done, but is a collaborative effort with the board.

“This is your budget and you have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the process,” Simpson said. “It’s a very efficient budget, but delivering education to our students is the first and foremost thing we try to do.”

Board member Skip Altig said the budget is a balancing act.

“You worried here about how much money we need to ask people for,” Altig said. “And then we have this and what’s the best for our students and we try to get it so it’s as even as possible.”

The board also approved unanimously the 2019-20 and 2020-21 paraprofessional negotiated agreement that includes a 2% increase each year.

The annual safety plan was also approved unanimously.

Introduced to the board at the meeting were Tina Smith, the new director of communication for the district and Diane Heine, the new food service director with Sodexo.

The next meeting of the board has been moved up to Oct. 7 due to scheduling conflicts on the regular meeting date of Oct. 14.

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