The Cut Bank School Board of Trustees approved a budget last week that will make taxpayers of School District No. 15 happy. With the taxable value of the school district increasing by over nine percent, it will take 18.25 fewer mills to fund the 2019-20 school budget and that means school taxes will be lower!

Business Manager and District Clerk Scott Laird presented the budget at the Aug. 13 school board meeting. The board unanimously approved total budgeted funds in the amount of $10,926,857.35, which is up by 2.7 percent, but requires fewer mills to generate the tax dollars needed to fund the budgets. 

The Elementary Fund Budget increased by $196,684.08 to $6,812,589.86 and the High School Fund Budget went up by $94,373.15 to $4,114,267.49 for the coming school year. 

The taxable value of the elementary and high school districts increased by more than $1.5 million, according to Laird, which allows school officials to fully fund the elementary and high school districts without asking taxpayers for additional taxes.

A copy of the 2019-20 approved budgets are on file at the School District’s Administration Office.

In other news from last week’s meeting, the board:

•Approved the Teamsters two-year agreements, which raises the hourly wage by 60 cents per hour each year. The increase can be used as a salary increase or applied to health insurance. The starting wage for new cooks/dishwashers is $10 per hour; aides, $11 per hour; custodial/maintenance and mechanic/driver, $11 per hour.

•Approved a 3.5 percent wage increase for non-union employees as well as a total of nine personal days for the superintendent, all principals and all supervisors. This is up from seven in the previous contract.

•Approved the following resignations: Scott Laird, CBHS Golf Coach; Jami Laird, CBHS Golf Coach; Alana Burtness, CBHS office aide; Elizabeth Billedeaux, Route and Activity Bus Driver; Gail Hofstad, CBMS Track Coach; Neil Bohmer, Transportation Supervisor.

•Approved the hiring of the following individuals: Renee Lowery, Kindergarten; Nick Luoma, CBMS Athletic Director; Brenda McDougall, Route and Activity Bus Driver; Jake Jarrett and Anthony Byrd, Co-Head Coach CBMS Football Head Coach; Hailey Stone, CBHS Speech and Drama Coach; Carrie Johnson, Elementary Aide; Kayla Erikson, Elementary Aide.

•Set the date for the annual Trustee Building Tour for Monday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.

•Discussed at length a revised CBHS Eligibility Policy. After hearing suggestions from the board, staff and administration on the policy it was decided to hold a special meeting to review the updated revisions on Aug. 26 prior to the building tour. 

•Heard from Cut Bank Police Chief Mike Schultz the Cut Bank City Council and School District No. 15 are committed to placing a School Resource Officer in the school district and he appreciates their willingness to commit the resources to do so. Until a seventh officer can be hired to replace the vacancy created by the earlier resignation of CBPD Sgt. Jim Everett, SRO Austin DeRoche will split his time between regular and SRO duties in the district. School District No. 15’s financial contribution to the CBPD will be prorated based on the number of days he is in the district.

•Approved a request from Valier High School to co-op with Cut Bank High School for the 2020 softball season. All practices and home games will be played/held in Cut Bank.

•Approved the school and district goals presented by the administration.

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