The Mineral Point School Board met Monday morning to certify the school portion of the tax levy for the 2016-17 school year and approve a mill rate decrease. (Scroll past the video for more article text)

Each fall the school district must certify its tax levy with each municipality. This is computed as a percentage of the total tax levy for that year and then sent to each municipality.

Note that the equalized property value for the Mineral Point Unified School District now totals $321,869,233. This is a 1.67% increase over last year.

This total helps determine the district’s mill rate (The mill rate is the product of the tax levy divided by the certified assessed property value).

The district’s mill rate for this year is 12.43, compared to last year of 12.46, a decrease of 0.24% mills, which amounts to a .03 decrease.

The Board unanimously approved the levy with Jeff Basting, Andy Busch, Larry Dolphin, Lisa Hay, Glenn Kinch, and Julie Stephenson voting yes. Larry Steffes was absent. (This portion of the meeting begins the video)

Other business:

–The Board discussed a purchasing request from agriculture teacher, Mike Robinson, for a plasma cutter.

Mr. Robinson budgeted $10,000 for the item, but the quotes all came in over budget. He has agreed to take the overage amount of $3,764.28 out of the FFA fundraising monies.

Kinch expressed concern that the school would not have enough use for this item to justify its cost. He inquired as to if students would be able to earn college credit if this item was purchased, or if it was just a “toy” to make “fun stuff” with. Superintendent Luke Francois stated that no college credit would be earned from having the plasma cutter in school. Kinch suggested the district might look at combining with other schools to purchase the item to share costs.

Hay said the plasma cutter would be incorporated into the ag curriculum, and it is a trend among many schools to now have fabrication labs. Hay added she is trusting the teacher to know how to properly spend his budget, and if kids in other high schools in the state are having the benefit of this equipment, then there’s no reason for Mineral Point students to not have the same access.

Francois added that it’s not just the skills of the plasma cutter that would be learned, but also the cutter would allow for more infusement of technology as students would need to use and understand computer programming in order to get the computers to “talk” to the cutter to make the designs.

Dolphin also expressed concern the device “would be used for more fun than anything else.”

The purchase of the plasma cutter was approved with Stephenson, Basting, Busch, and Hay voting yes, Kinch voting no, and Dolphin abstaining. (Go to the five minute mark of the video for this discussion)

–The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is set for Monday, November 14 at 6:30 pm.