Albion adopts school budget with no tax increase

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 April 2021 at 12:38 pm

ALBION – The Board of Education on Monday adopted a $37,801,291 budget for 2021-22 that doesn’t increase taxes for the 13th time in the past 15 years.

The budget keeps the tax levy at $8,449,094 in property taxes, the same for at least the past three years.

“You’ve done very well here,” Bart Schuler, interim business administrator, told the Board of Education on Monday evening. “You’ve had a lot of great vision. There is no need to raise the taxes.”

The district is able to stave off a tax increase mainly due to more state aid. The state funding is budgeted to increase by $669,603 from $27,543,861 to $28,213,464. The state aid accounts for 74.6 percent of the district’s budget.

The budget increases spending up 2.61 percent from $36,841,032 to $37,801,299. The spending plan will go before district voters on May 18 with ballots to be cast from noon to 8 p.m. in the elementary school gymnasium. That is a change from where the election is usually held in the district office conference room. Having the vote in the gym will spread people out, said Mickey Edwards, the district superintendent.

The proposed budget maintains all existing programs and also allows for a $100,000 elevator rehab project in the middle school.

The district will go over the budget in more detail during a budget hearing on May 11 at 7 p.m. That hearing will be held virtually and not in-person.

The vote on May 18 will include a proposition to spend $550,000 from a bus reserve fund, and a proposition to collect $724,260 for Hoag Library.

There will also be two members elected to the Board of Education to five-year terms. Those seats are currently filled by Curt Schmitt and Marlene Seielstad. Candidates for the positions have until April 19 to submit petitions signed by at least 25 qualified voters.

In other action at Monday’s board meeting, the BOE:

Appointed Richard Recckio II as school business administrator at a salary of $92,000.

Recognized Bailey Blanchard with the high school leadership award and Dominic DiGiulio with the high school character award.

Observed a moment of silence for two former district employees who recently passed away.

Elsie Barringer, a former cafeteria worker, was 92 when she died on March 7, 2021.

Gary Parisi, a social studies teacher who also coached softball and football for Albion, was 61 when he died from cancer on March 24 at age 61. Parisi also was part of Albion’s summer camp programs. He retired from Albion this past September.

“He left a positive impact,” said Wayne Wadhams, a BOE member.

Accepted the notice of retirements on June 30 from Mary Susan Webster, keyboard specialist in the elementary school, and William Webster, a cleaner.

BOE member Margy Brown praised Webster for giving a welcoming first impression for students and visitors to the elementary school for many years.

Approved a new $500 recurring scholarship to be funded by the Albion Police Benevolent Association, which will choose the annual awardee.