KNOX - All of the employees at Keystone School District have agreed to a wage freeze for the upcoming school year, providing cost stability as the school board and administrators deal with the financial fall-out of the COVID-19 emergency.

The school board accepted the agreements at its June 15 meeting as it also gave its final approval to a $16,573,125 budget for the upcoming school year.

Board member and lead labor negotiator Greg Barrett thanked all of the district employees for their cooperation.

The wage freeze tide was started by the district's teachers union and administrators last month.

Superintendent Shawn Algoe announced this month the district's support personnel, business manager, assistant business manager, school psychologist and non-bargaining employees all agreed to a wage freeze for the 2020-21 school year.

The board left the district real estate tax rate at 51.587 mills.

That rate equals $51.59 of tax on each $1,000 of assessed value of property in the district.

The board also approved the district's 2020-21 homestead/farmstead exemption tax discount of $139.

That discount is funded by slot-machine gambling revenues collected by the state. Keystone School District was allotted $2289,584 to share among 2,074 qualified properties.

The district will also collect an occupational tax assessment of 300 mills.

The occupational assessment tax is a tax levied on employed residents of the district. The tax is based solely on the person's job title. A value is set upon different occupations and then the school districts tax upon a certain percentage of the value assessed.

The district's per capita tax is $10 and the district collects one-half of one percent real estate transfer tax and earned income tax.

In other business at their most recent session, the school members:

4Approved the hiring of Janet Hockman as high school art teacher effective Aug. 24 pending proper completion of personnel file documentation and clearances.

4Approved the hiring of Greg Chadman as a full-time custodian, effective July 1 pending proper completion of personnel file documentation and clearances.

4Approved retroactive extension of one-year employment for Nick Banner, high school math teacher and Alicia McMillen, paraprofessional.

4Approved the retroactive approval of a lump sum payment for Fred Carrow at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

4Approved five-year transportation contracts with B. Lisa Bailey -- Route 11; Whitmore Busing -- Route 1; Whitmore Busing -- Route 13; Whitmore Busing -- extra-curricular; Randy McLendon vans; McLendon Transportation vans.