Members of the Three Forks School District approved final operating budgets for the upcoming school year and brought Superintendent John Overstreet out of retirement Tuesday.

In what effectively amounted to rubber stamping an earlier agreement, trustees hired back the recently retired Overstreet, but at 1/3-time.

The deal was struck last year, and Overstreet officially retired July 1. He returned to his desk Monday for two years as a part-timer.

“It was a short retirement, he said. “Thanks for hiring me back.”

According to the contract trustees approved Tuesday, Overstreet will be paid one-third of his full-time salary, or $32,567 for 2010-11 and 2011-12, and will fully retire in June 2012. The district also will pay him up to $49,000 in insurance benefits to cover him until he reaches age 65, 20 months after he fully retires.

The board also approved a contract with Elementary Principal Jerry Breen, who will take over some of Overstreet’s superintendent duties over the next two years.

Breen will work 60 percent as principal and 40 percent as superintendent until Overstreet fully retires.

The board voted unanimously to approve the two contracts along with elementary and high school general-fund spending of roughly $3.5 million for the coming school year.

According to figures provided by the state Department of Revenue, the taxable value of property in both the Three Forks elementary and high school districts increased this year, raising the value of a mill. But taxes won’t increase for taxpayers of either district, Overstreet said, because the number of mills assessed will be adjusted down.

“It will save us some mills and help the taxpayers a little bit,” he said. “It won’t help our budget but it will help our taxpayers.”

The elementary’s total general-fund budget is $2,060,295 for the coming year, which is $30,695 more than last year, Overstreet said. In the high school, spending of $1,476,670 is budgeted, which is $24,215 higher.

“We’re fortunate to have a good budget this year; I think we’ll be in good shape,” Overstreet said.

In other business Tuesday, the Three Forks School Board:

• agreed to hold school lunch prices at last year’s levels;

• agreed to hold student and adult activity ticket prices at last year’s levels;

• hired Eva Novak as a part-time Title I teacher;

• discussed the Montana High School Association’s announcement that Three Forks has won an academic excellence award for 2009-2010 (see story, page B1); and,

• discussed high school student handbook changes proposed for the upcoming year.