Paris Town Board will wait until formal recognition for donation to school foundation

parispantherlogoThe Paris Town Board’s lawyer is advising it to wait until the Paris Foundation is formally recognized by the IRS before making a donation.

In the meantime, Town Board members expressed willingness to start talking with the foundation’s representatives about the school support group’s aims and goals and how the town might be able to help.

The school district, having used reserves to make up for budget shortfalls for several years, went for and passed referendum in April to allow it to exceed state imposed tax levy limits. The foundation has been formed as a way for the district to receive extra funding. The town has over $20 million in its savings mostly due to receiving lucrative fees from the Waste Management owned Pheasant Run landfill.

Town attorney John Knuteson said he has received all the information he requested from the foundation, such as its bylaws and application for IRS non-profit status. But except for preliminary talks, Knuteson advised the board to hold off actually making a contribution.

“It is prudent to wait until the IRS has blessed this organization,” Knuteson said. From his experience with such applications, Knuteson said he estimated the foundation could get its final IRS recognition as early as late August.

The meeting started with several statements of support for the foundation. Here’s a video compilation of some of them:

Here’s some of what some Town Board members (first Ken Monson then Chairman Virgil Gentz) had to say about working with the foundation.

Afterwards some foundation supporters seemed satisfied.

“I think they seem willing to talk,” said Beth LaBell. “It’s reasonable, they’re being cautious with the foundation. They acknowledge that the community supports Paris School.”



  1. Northwestern Mike says:

    Paris Teacher Contract Update
    – No salary freeze, 2% increase
    – Salary schedule the same, 4.1% step increases, 5.5% lane increase for 12 credits, 6.7-12% increase for getting a Masters degree
    – Still pay employee and employer portions of pension plan
    – Health insurance – different plan suggested, 10% copay
    – Long-term care removed – $800/yr/teacher. Savings $10K-15K
    – Post employment benefits still in contract. Cost $150K – 270K per teacher
    – 4 months and first offers still not made
    – First meeting September 30
    – Union has made no concession so far, seems to be delaying

    School Budget Update
    – Added $435K to budget, padded everything to use every dollar
    – Increase in salaries
    – Increase in health insurance of 14%
    – $342K in Post Employment Benefits (PEB), increased $136K. PEB 78% of $435K referendum amount
    – $40K added for contract negotiations
    – $80K added for roof replacement
    – $2.7M expenses for 176 students, $15.2K/student

    Focus seems to be finding more funding
    – School Finance Network
    – Property tax increase
    – School foundation

    I urge the board to make any contribution to the foundation conditional on the following:
    – Removal of post employment benefits from teachers contract
    – Health insurance concessions
    – A defined long-term plan from school board
    – One time contribution
    – Not another contribution for 7 years

    Mike Cavalenes

  2. Northwestern Mike says:

    Paris School Ten-Year Plan

    Spending cuts or revenue savings
    The Revenue-Expenditure difference needs to be about $200,000.
    Remove Post Employment Benefits and change the teacher’s Salary Schedule in the teacher’s contract. Get Health Insurance savings of 10-20%. Initiate a 10-20% co-pay for teacher’s pension fund. Saving – $200,000 to $250,000 per year.

    Funding increase
    With these teacher concessions I have high confidence the Paris Town Board would be willing to make a donation to the School Foundation for capital improvements (new roof).

    In FY2011-12 a referendum to increase the Revenue Limit $200,000 for Recurring (would not go away) purposes would be proposed. This would be a tax increase of $74 for a Property value of $100,000 or $222 for $300,000. This should cover salary and benefit raises of 3.8% for several years. In addition the debt for school renovations should be paid off in FY2016 and I would propose that tax decrease be left on the books for school funding. This would be an additional funding of about $140,000. Funding over ten years would increase $340,000.

    This scenario would provide for ten years of school funding with a very modest property tax increase of 12% in FY2011-12.

    The three-year referendum would expire in FY2011-12. Every effort should be made to minimize the property tax levy during this time. In FY2011-12 Paris property taxes should decrease from the large increase for this three-year referendum to the smaller recurring referendum.

    Mike Cavalenes

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