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PHS board talks tax levy, teacher evaluation tools

PRINCETON — Taxpayers in the Princeton High School district could have a slightly lower property tax rate for the 2012 year, payable in 2013.

At Monday’s meeting of the PHS board of education, Superintendent Kirk Haring said the projected Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) for the district shows a tentative increase of about 3 percent, though an estimated 1 percent increase is more realistic. If the district does have a 3 percent EAV increase, the tax rate could go down as much as 6 cents per $100. At a 1 percent EAV increase, a 4-cent decrease in the tax rate is more likely, Haring said.

Any time the school district can give any type of decrease in its tax rate, that’s a tremendous thing, Haring said. Especially in today’s economy, any little thing the school district can do is a good thing to help taxpayers, he said.

Board member Gary Coates agreed, saying any time the district can reduce its tax rate, it’s good for the community.

Haring said the tax rate for PHS has stayed the same, or decreased slightly, for approximately the last six or seven years. Also, the district has not raised its student fees in several years, he added.

The board is expected to adopt its final tax levy at its regular meeting in December.

On Tuesday, Haring said the tentative tax levy for the new year could be as much as $5,381,683, though he doesn’t anticipate receiving that much. Concerning the tax rate, Haring said he anticipates the tax rate to decrease from $2.08 to $2.04.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board conducted a public hearing on issuing $2,050,000 in working cash bonds to pay for fire prevention and life safety projects. Those projects include new bleachers for the football field/track, roof replacement work on the Prouty and south gymnasiums, tuck pointing for the entire building, repair work to the greenhouse, and repair to the fire escape at the auditorium.

No one from the public addressed the board during the public hearing. The school board is expected to take action on the bonds in December.

In still other business at Monday’s meeting, Principal Andy Berlinski reported on staff development work which took place Nov. 16 between members of the PHS staff, the Princeton Elementary School staff and Barb Valle, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for both PHS and the PES districts. The group is working to develop the Common Core Standards for the districts, specifically in the English/language arts areas.

Berlinski also reported on an evaluation committee of seven teachers who are meeting with him to work on revising the teacher evaluation tool for PHS. The school staff has been educated on the Danielson Framework for Teaching tool, which is a new state guideline for teacher evaluation.

Berlinski said the PHS evaluation committee represents every staff department and is comprised of tenured and non-tenured teachers, veteran and non-veteran teachers. The committee will now begin its process of creating a teacher evaluation tool based on a research-based framework. Hopefully, the new teacher evaluation tool will be in place for the new school year. Berlinski said.

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