How much property tax money is due to the North Platte Public Schools is still up in the air, according to Executive Finance Director Stuart Simpson.
At Monday’s regular Board of Education meeting, Simpson said revenue is still down and some of that is because of the issues being investigated in the Lincoln County Treasurer’s office. Lorie Koertner was removed from office by the County Board of Commissioners in May. A state auditor’s office attestation report has been completed, but has not been released to the public.
In May, NPPS did not receive their property tax payment on time, Simpson said, requiring the district to take out a short-term loan to meet its financial obligations.
“Going through the process with our county treasury and receiving our property tax money in May for April collections obviously shoved us up and now it shoved us up again further,” Simpson said. “We’re not that fully whole on where we’re supposed to be (in revenue), but we’re also dealing with the state in regards to our grants coming in and then a few other areas within our overall budget of revenue.”
He said the district is expecting some additional revenue coming in from other areas of the county as well.
“For example, county fines and licenses is one area we need to see,” Simpson said. “I’m seeing some other areas such as motor vehicle is not at the level that it was before.”
Simpson said that may not be part of the county treasurer issue, but just could be indicative there are not as many new vehicles being purchased this year.
He said he presented a chart to the commissioners in May showing the district was short $3.3 million in overall collected taxes.
“When I say collected taxes, that includes not only property taxes, but motor vehicle taxes, county fines and licenses and anything else that comes in to the county that’s repaid back to us for funds in the district,” Simpson said. “When you compare the overall collected taxes to our overall property tax request, two different pieces of information, but still should be on the same trajectory as far as funding is concerned.”
Simpson also said the district should be getting the same amount of dollars as last year, but the chart he shared showed a drop off.
“We have increased that dip and brought it up, but we’re still below normal from where we were last year,” Simpson said. “I know in the process the county is working through a lot of data at this point in time, as well as we’re getting further information as far as people paying their taxes more on the escrow cycle, April-May or August-September.”
“Any word from the county as to when they will be whole with the district from the delay, or do we know yet,” said board member Ivan Mitchell.
“We don’t know yet,” Simpson said. “But like the community, we’re watching when the state auditor will publish their attestation on the website.”
Simpson said at that point in time the district will know more as far as taxes are concerned.
In other action, the board:
» Approved the updated student handbook
» Approved the updated employee handbook
» Approved request of two payments to Mike Morrell for dual credit classes taken by his son.
Simpson said for every high school student that takes dual credit courses, “we have a portion of the money that we get from Mid-Plains that can go into supporting the dual credit classes. In that, we will reimburse the parents at $25 per credit hour.”
The item, which is normally run through the consent agenda, was pulled to an action item to “have complete transparency,” Simpson said, because Morrell is a board member.
The second check is reimbursement for mileage. Parents who live more than four miles can request payment for transporting their child to school.
» Approved updates to complaint procedure.
» Approved updates to internet safety and acceptable use policy.
The changes to the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school calendars was tabled due to new information that may require another adjustment.