The Knoxville School Board approved their preliminary budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year Monday. They will hold a public hearing April 10 to finalize the budget process.

Revenues for the upcoming fiscal year are close to what school officials estimate will come in the current fiscal year. It’s estimated for the school to take in $26.3 million in the fiscal year that ends in June. For the upcoming fiscal year, the school expects to receive around $290,000 less, or around $26 million.

There is expected to be a 10.9 percent increase in total support services, which includes things like staff, administration and transportation. Non instructional programs are expecting an 8.5 percent increase.

The biggest line-item change are total other expenditures, which will decrease roughly 34 percent due to construction projects at West Elementary School being completed.

The property tax rate will be set at $15.825 per $1,000 in valuation. This is down from the $16.107 per $1,000 in valuation rate that was set for the current fiscal year.

“We have property valuations that went up, so that is going to cause your rate to go down,” district business manager Craig Mobley said.

Another item noted in the budget was the instructional support state aid. On the budget form, it’s listed as a $71,140 revenue for the school. However, as superintendent Cassi Pearson and Mobley pointed out, the district won’t actually receive that amount from the state.

“That’s what we should get, but the state doesn’t fund it,” Pearson said.

Mobley pointed out that in the past the district has just left that figure as a zero on the budget, but for whatever this year the Department of Management wouldn’t allow that to be left off the budget form.

The board approved a new batch of one-year assignments for the Teacher Leadership and Compensation system positions for the upcoming 2017-18 school year.

Teachers who hold the positions from the TLC program must apply each year for the one-year assignments. They are interviewed by a committee, which makes recommendations to the board for approval.

Approved were Tyler Pearson, as K-5 technology integrationist; Lindsey Carlson, as 6-12 technology integrationist; Kim Collins, as West instructional coach; Cindy Jergens, as Northstar instructional coach; Devin Dunkin, as Middle School instructional coach; and Heather Wilcox, as High School instructional coach.

Building and district leadership teams will be appointed at a later date. The committee decided to nominate these individuals on a different time frame, to allow time for any other changes in teaching and building assignments to take place.

In other action:

— Two policies were approved, which were revising course listings in current school policies.

— The board approved minutes from the Feb. 27 meeting.

— February financials and student activity funds.

— Volunteers: Aaron Seddon for boys and girls track; Joel Tonda and Mike Keefer for boys and girls tennis.

— Personnel: Sheena Lester was hired as a high school dance team co-sponsor, replacing LeAnn Huff; Hayley Freeston was approved as the new high school junior varsity softball coach, replacing Malloree Grove.

— The board approved an agreement with the Iowa Department of Human Services for foster care services. This was normally an agreement school district’s bargained with individually. This year, however, DHS bargained for the districts themselves.

— The board entered into an exempt session at 6 p.m. to discussion negotiation strategy.

Kyle Ocker is the managing editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express. He can be reached in the newsroom at 641-842-2155, ext. 18, or via email at editor@journalexpress.net. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

Kyle Ocker has been the editor of the Knoxville Journal Express since November 2016. He formerly held the titles of sports editor and associate editor at the Centerville Daily Iowegian, a sister paper to the Journal Express.

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