North Union School Superintendent Matt Berninghaus provided answers to a series of questions about the changes district patrons as Armstrong-Ringsted and Sentral school districts finalize their merger as North Union July 1.
With the consolidation of the Armstrong-Ringsted and Sentral school districts into North Union, what are some of the most obvious changes people will see?
Visual changes to the North Union School District will be difficult to identify due to the success of the past two years of whole-grade sharing and activities sharing between the Armstrong-Ringsted, Sentral and North Kossuth school districts.
North Union Director District Plan
Throughout the whole-grade sharing process the three districts have worked hard to share as many positions as possible in order to work in a more effective and efficient manner.
Some shared positions include:
n Transportation Director
n School Nurse
n Curriculum Director
n Athletic Coaches
The districts have also attempted to share as many educational items and equipment as possible in order to minimize expenditures to each district.
Some shared items include:
n Library books
n Playground equipment
n Air Conditioners
n White Boards
Since the successful re-organization vote, the North Union School District and the North Kossuth School District have entered into new whole-grade sharing and activities sharing agreements which are very similar to the past agreements.
What are some of the not-so-obvious changes people will see?
Different Tax Rates
n Taxpayers in the former Armstrong-Ringsted and former Sentral School districts will remain responsible for their existing general obligation bonded debt.
n Until the general obligation bonded sebts of each former District are paid in full there will be two different tax rates for individuals who live within the North Union School District.
Former Armstrong-Ringsted School District residents and former Sentral School District residents
n It has been the intent of the North Union Board of Education to pay off the existing bonded debt as soon as possible in an effort to save the North Union taxpayers substantial interest payments as well as create less confusion in the future when a consolidated tax rate is achieved.
The District qualifies for the following property tax reduction:
n $1.00/1000 valuation the first year of re-organization
n $0.50/1000 valuation the second year of re-organization
n $0.25/1000 valuation the third year of re-organization.
n Joint employment incentives in the amount of $77,800 per year for three years
n Whole-grade sharing incentives in the amount of $123,500 per year for three years
n These incentives will enable the district to pay off general obligation bonded debt in the short term in an effort to reduce substantial interest payments for the taxpayers of the North Union School District.
Increased Land Valuation
n 2013-14 Armstrong-Ringsted Land Valuation$109,635,546
n 2013-14 Sentral Land Valuation -$181,364,836
n 2014-15 North Union Land Valuation - $304,578,495
Increased district enrollment
Armstrong-Ringsted estimated students -300
Sentral Estimated students - 150
North Union estimated students - 450
If people have questions or concerns about a particular issue, will there be a change in which they address those to the board? (i.e., will they have a different board representative for their particular area of the district?)
The initial members of the North Union Board of Education were appointed by the Armstrong-Ringsted and Sentral School Boards.
Jim Boyer (President) - September 2015 - Former Armstrong-Ringsted District minus City of Armstrong
Jen Von Bank (Vice-President) - September 2017 - City of Armstrong
George Walker - September 2017 - At-Large (Entire new District)
Cory Culbertson - September 2017 - Former Sentral District
*Gene Miller - September 2015 - At-Large (Entire new District)
*Ron Dacken, who was originally appointed to the North Union School Board resigned from the North Union School Board in May of 2014.
Gene Miller was appointed by the North Union School Board to fill the vacant seat for the remainder of the term.
The North Union School Board established the boundaries of the North Union director districts.
Per the re-organization vote, there are three director districts for the North Union School District. (See map).