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The Rochester CUSD #3a Board of Education held its regular meeting on Monday, December 20, 2021. Action on the annual tax levy and personnel decisions highlighted the meeting. The Board set the annual tax levy during the meeting. Director of Business Services, Bob McDermott emphasized the importance of estimating the levy amount. “The District does not set the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) or raise taxes,” reported McDermott. “Instead, the District overestimates the rise in value so that it collects the revenue it is entitled to receive because the actual EAV is not known until spring.” The Board further approved a resolution to abate $300,000 of property taxes with the use of the District’s County Schools Facilities Sales Tax to pay the Series 2016 bonds used for capital improvements. This decision continues to ensure that Rochester CUSD #3a maintains one of the lowest property taxes in the area. 

Transportation highlighted personnel action. The Board hired Ty Smith as the District’s new Interim Director for Transporation. Mr. Smith comes to the District with both experience in the school bus and trucking industry. Additionally, Mr. Smith already works in the District as a coach and is an active and well-known official in the area. “We are excited to welcome Ty Smith as a Rochester Rocket,” said Superintendent Dan Cox. “He is knowledgable, enthusiastic, and is a student first person. Ty (Smith) is the right person to lead our transportation department to the level of excellence we have come to expect at Rochester schools,” Cox continued. The bus driver shortage is a crisis that is impacting school districts locally, regionally, and nationally. In efforts to recruit and retain drivers the Board increased extra-trip pay and minimum wage for the District’s school bus drivers. In addition to driver shortages, all support staff positions are increasingly difficult to fill. In response, the Board has raised the starting minimum wage for all classified support personnel to $16.00 per hour effective January 1, 2022. Superintendent Cox stated, “At Rochester Schools, we value every position within our school district and our shared roles to provide an excellent education for our students. This step continues to place Rochester CUSD #3a as a leader in the State of Illinois to attract and retain high-quality, professional, and dedicated staff who are here to meet the needs of our students.”

To learn more about these and other items discussed and acted upon please see the full summary of minutes on the District website here.