SPRING VALLEY — The Spring Valley Elementary school board met via Zoom on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Superintendent Jim Hermes shared with the board news from the county assessor that the district’s EAV went up $2,702,447. The district’s tax rate will drop from 3.017 to 3.007.

“The really big factor there is that the Keystone building is going on the books, so that’s going to help us out tremendously,” Hermes said. “So we’re able to generate a little more tax money while also dropping our tax rate.”

The board will abate the $179,278 bond payment for the building upgrades to the south portion of JFK, using evidence based funding to cover the payment.

“It’s interesting, you look over the last several years and you’ll see the tax rate dropping,” Hermes said. “I know that’s something the school board has done a tremendous job of monitoring, to make sure our tax rate stays at a decent level.”

The district will soon be going out for bid for bus services since the current contract with Johannes will expire at the end of this school year.

“The consortium we’re in right now is with DePue, Ladd, Hall and Putnam County,” Hermes said. “We’d like to join forces with LaSalle-Peru High School, Peru Elementary, LaSalle Elementary, basically all the feeders to L-P High School.

“Basically the reason we’re able to do this is that consortium is not happy with First Student, and we’re not exactly happy with Johannes. We’re going to structure it a bit differently so we’re all in together, and it should create a better scenario for spending and funding and we should get better rates, hopefully.”

The board agreed with the administration’s recommendation to continue with the current hybrid model of the COVID plan. Students wanting to switch from remote to in person were able to make that change on Nov. 16.

“Moving forward, we like what’s in place,” Hermes said. “Shelly (Nauman), our principal, and nurse Kathy (Hoscheid) are doing an excellent job when it comes to monitoring situations we have in the school, and being consistent.

“This could change at any moment. We’re doing well with the system that’s in place, but there are a lot of factors that could occur at any moment.”

COVID updates are available on the district’s website at www.sv99.org.

“Our number one goal right now is teaching kids,” Hermes said. “We’re very fortunate to be doing what we’re doing even though it’s minimal. We just want to keep doing things the right way.”

Nauman relayed that the school staff is able to roll with any changes.

“Our planning committee did meet and all of our teachers are ready to go remote,” she said. “They have the plan from the first couple of weeks of school. Some of them tweaked it a little bit, but everyone is 100% ready if we do go remote.”

The board also approved an updated 2020-21 calendar, then went into an executive session before adjourning.

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