The Blue Earth Area School Board held a Truth in Taxation hearing last Tuesday when they approved the decrease in the 2014 property tax levy.
Alan Wilhelmi, BEA finance officer, presented some numbers to the school board numbers showing the school district would be able to proceed with a decrease of 1.99 percent to the property tax levy.
"When we set it at the maximum amount, we didn't have exact numbers,"?superintendent Evan Gough says. "The decrease this year is a result of a greater level of support from the state."
Board members voted in favor of the resolution, which read, "the school district tax levy, to be applied in 2013 and collected in 2014, will be set at $1,652,967.91."
"That is a decrease of about $33,000," Gough adds.
Aside from budget and levy discussion, the board also heard from two teachers regarding the success of iPad use in the classrooms.
"We have had a lot of discussion about Chromebooks," Gough explains. "So, I've invited two elementary teachers to touch on the use of iPads."
Steven Wood, a third-grade teacher at BEA elementary, explained how iPads have played a role in classroom management.
"We can monitor good and bad behavior throughout the day,"?he explains. "I can even email reports to the student's parents each day."
He adds classroom behavior has been much easier to control with this feature.
Chelsea Erickson, a second-grade teacher at BEA, has found the integration of iPads most useful in her reading curriculum.
"My students can use an app to follow along while the program reads stories out loud," she says. "This helps them a great deal with tracking as they read."
The board thanked the teachers for their update, as the school district continues to find ways to utilize technology in the classroom, including the 1:1 program.
"The tech team continues to meet and work on the 1:1 program," Gough says.
In other business, the school board;
discussed the idea of consolidating the eighth-grade classes into the high school.
"We have met a few times to discuss the idea,"?middle school principal Melissa McGuire says. "We looked at scheduling and talked about changing the length of elective classes."
She also adds the staffing looks favorable to the idea of the eighth-grade consolidation.
"It's one big jigsaw puzzle," high school principal Rich Schneider adds. "We are still finding holes in the plan."
Assistant principal Al Cue shared the totals from the elementary students contributions to the food shelf this year.
"They collected a total of 2,001 food shelf items,"?he says.
The students collected items as a part of the KBEW/Darling International You Can Make A?Difference Campout.
"They were all excited about the things they collected,"?Cue adds. "This is a lifelong lesson for them."
McGuire reported the numbers for conference attendances this quarter.
"We were at 70 percent attendance at the middle school conferences which is way down from previous years,"?she says.
McGuire adds they have done some analysis and plan to find ways to get the attendance numbers back up.