The Nodaway-Holt R-VII Board of Education set the tax levy for the upcoming year during its regular meeting August 21.

The school board approved the total levy of $4.2898 per $100 of assessed valuation for the upcoming fiscal year. The levy breaks down into an incidental/teacher fund of $4.4908, which is .0383 higher than last year, and a capital project levy of .8990, which is .0013 higher than last year.

Revenue from local sources comprises 50 percent of the anticipated total, while state sources account for 33.5 percent, 8.5 percent from federal and eight percent from the county.

Total budgeted revenue for the upcoming school year combined with the existing balance is $3,694,197. The district’s total budgeted expenditure is $3,036,026.

Superintendant Jeff Blackford attended a summer workshop on utilizing social media and plans to implement more school information on social media outlets.

The board approved the diesel bid from MFA for 12¢ over cost. Discussion was had about purchasing barrels in the future to entice other companies to bid to get a more competitive price.

Currently, the district has 99 elementary students and 102 in the junior high and high school.

The high school has made changes to the schedule, eliminating seminar period at the end of the day. Instead, two minutes have been added to each class period and five minutes to each lunch period. They will be rotating study hall so that it will be held during a different hour each day, allowing students to get more academic instruction time.

Rather than have an extra study period, students not involved in sports were given the option of taking a speech, military history or coding class. The classes will not have any homework but are for enrichment.

The board voted to increase substitute pay to $80 a day and $45 per half day to be more competitive with area schools.

Blackford hopes to have the donated parking lot completed in the next week, adding a tube on the south side of the lot. Board members are hopeful this will alleviate parking on the streets and will leave the ambulance more room to navigate if needed.

Blackford would like to create a long-range planning committee for the district to assess needs in the school. Some possible projects would include roofing, restrooms and kitchen updates. His goal is to have the committee in place by November.

The board voted to allow administration to hire one or two paraprofessionals. Currently, the school is advertising and will conduct interviews soon. The vote will allow the paras to start immediately and the board will officially approve them at the next meeting.

Blackford brought a changed sick leave and personal leave plan to the board for discussion. Currently, teachers have two personal days and 10 sick days per year. The new plan would give teachers nine days of personal time to be used as needed, including as sick time, allowing teachers more flexibility.

He also pointed out that sometimes if teachers know they will be absent, but do not have any personal days left, they call in sick and leave administration scrambling to find a substitute. Blackford believes the new system will alleviate that problem.

A new plan was also presented for hourly staff as well as year-round staff. The new policies have been distributed to employees for feedback. No action was taken. The board expects to vote on the topic at the September meeting.