School district honors retirees at meeting
Laurel Johansen, School Board President opened the June 21 meeting with all members present. The first item of business was the recognition of four school district retirees. Johansen said they were sad to see the retirees leave the district. They have all done remarkably good things, and they will miss them. Sam Singleton was designated to present the award to Dean Nelson, a teacher of French and English at Emery high school. He started at the Emery School District in 1979. He has taught 32 years in the Emery District and two years outside the district at Snow College. He also coached in the Emery District. His total teaching years are 34. Nelson was given a large wall clock as a gift in recognition of his service to the district.
Nelson declared the rumor was true about him erasing tardys when and if the student brought French Yogurt (Yoplait) to him. Nelson followed up his award by saying, "Knowing the makeup of the school board and knowing all of you and I went to school with half of you. I want you to know I always had complete faith and trust in what you did. Thank you so much."
Johansen said, "Thank you Dean, you have been so much more than a teacher."
Tanie Worthen was the next to receive an award of a large wall clock presented by Johansen. Worthen was an elementary teacher at Castle Dale Elementary School. She started in the Emery School District as a teacher in 1979. She taught in the Emery District for 32 years and three years outside the District at the Navajo Reservation. Worthen has a total of 35 years teaching. She taught the children about books and how to go to magical places and have fun experiences with books. "We appreciate her so much and we will miss her," said the school board.
Worthen said, "I have gone to a lot of work shops in the last 32 years and I have never talked to someone from another district, that caused me say oh I wish I taught there. Not ever. This is the most sympathetic school board for teachers that I know of. I appreciate that."
Nancy Martinez and Alta Anderson, two other teachers to receive awards were not there to receive their awards.
Anderson, an elementary teacher at the Ferron Elementary School, started teaching in the Emery School District in 1990. She taught in the Emery School District for 21 years. Anderson has also taught in the Castle Dale and Cottonwood elementary schools.
Martinez, a biology teacher at Emery High School started in the Emery School District in 1986. She has taught 25 years in Emery District and five years outside the district. She also coached in several sports programs in the district. Martinez has taught for a total of 30 years.
The board adjourned to a public hearing to receive public comment on the final legal budget for fiscal year 2011 and the proposed budget for 2012. Business Administrator Jared Black made the presentation and passed around copies of the budget for review. Black said, "Every year we build our budget based on assumptions as well as actual numbers that we get of how much revenue may be coming. But those assumptions and numbers are constantly changing. The budget is based upon the best information we have at this time.
"The assessed valuation for our county is what drives our local property tax revenue. There is a significant amount of growth of about $89 million. The growth is from centrally assessed property, such as the mines, and the power plants, these are properties that have a very high value that are assessed by the state. That growth allows us to increase tax revenue, not at the expense of home owners but we still have higher revenue locally. Local funding is up but state funding is down. Funds from the state are different for every school district. The weighted pupil unit or WPU value this year was $2,577. The WPU for 2012 was increased to $2,816. But that increase was taken out of flexible allocations. We actually lost funding because of that change in funding. WPU is the basic funding for school districts. Flexible Allocation is the new name for the allocation for Social Security and retirement on every employee.
"Our estimated fall enrollment is just under 2,400 and that will be our second year of growth. Last year the growth was 80 students, this year we expect 40-50 new students. The number of employees is approximately 330. We have five funds that we are budgeting for this year. That is one less than normal because we do not have a debt service fund. We have two different budgets that we are presenting for review. One is our tentative fiscal budget for the next fiscal year and the second is our final budget for this fiscal year.
"We are not going above our certified tax rate this year and will not need additional hearings in August. We are setting our rates at the certified tax rate which means we will have the same revenue next year as we did this year. The state basic levy is set statewide for every county and it came out yesterday at .005716 and the state basic levy for this year was .005609. So you can see it went up quite a bit. Our largest expenditure in 2011 was salaries and benefits, supplies and property was also significant. Part of supplies and property includes the cost of utilities. In 2012 the expenditure for supplies and property will be lower.
"In 2010 the tax rate was .005519 and the revenue received was $9,868,703. The tax rate for the fiscal year 2011 was .005609 and the amount budgeted was $10,561,812. Looking ahead to 2012 the tax rate will be .005716 and the anticipated amount of revenue is $11,240,371," concluded Black.
After the Public hearings, the school board adopted the final legal budget for fiscal year 2011 and the tentative budget for fiscal year 2012. The state basic levy tax rate is set by the Utah State Office of Education and the Utah Tax Commission. The total proposed tax rate does not exceed the certified tax rate.
If anyone wants more details about the budget they should contact Business Administrator Jared Black at the Emery County School District offices.
Director Gwen Callahan presented the Emery Adult Education Program, which has for its mission, "the empowerment of adults who are at less than a post-secondary level or who have limited English proficiency to become literate." The main goal is assisting adults in acquiring skills and knowledge that lead to further education, future employment, and personal success. This program is available through the high school.
Director Callahan related several success stories of adults setting a goal to get their GED diploma and at adult education graduation, how excited they were to have achieved this goal. These are life changing experiences that will open new doors of opportunity for these adults.
This is not a large program. They are usually serving eight to 10 people at a time.
The program is computer based and it is a one-on- one situation. They also offer GED preparation and have a number of students that take advantage of this service.
Credit is given for work experience, professional licenses, and for military experience.
"We would like to extend our program to include more adults, but this would require the opening of our budget. Our budget keeps this program small. The school district takes on the cost of the building, the services in the building and the computer people that help with the computers. This program is not self sustaining. We receive funding from the State and the Federal government," said Callahan.
Documentation is maintained for each adult education student. All student hard copy records are kept in the files in the adult education building. They are also kept in computer files as well.
Callahan said, "We are required to have school board approval and a review of our program. As director, I am required to submit an annual report. My goal is to expand this program for Green River and the jail. Our program runs the year around." The Adult Education Program was approved by the board.
Black reported that he negotiated with both the Emery Education Association and the Emery Classified Association and they accepted the offers made by the school district. Johansen added that they appreciated what the school district gives to them and it shows the caliber of our employees. Singleton stated that he met with them and they accepted what was offered. The school board approved the negotiations.
The surplus vehicles list was approved. There are vehicles that are not running or are having problems. There are two buses, one old blue service van in Green River, that vehicle has already been replaced. Also a pickup in Green River used to move grass and branches. Approval was given for continuing the program of funding the $150,000 for a 2011-2012 student built house. They now have one nice looking house finished and on the market. The plan is to build another house just to the north of the finished house on the same street. Superintendent Kirk Sitterud stated that he took the state superintendent and the associate superintendent through the house and showed them homes that students have built. They were very impressed by the quality of workmanship.
The Emery High football field lighting bids were reconsidered, four holes have been dug and heavy equipment crossing the track with outdamage was successful. They have the funds and the project can be completed by the fall. This will be a new system with brighter lights. UCI was the low bidder. The board approved moving this project along.
The adding of an office space to the maintenance building was discussed. Photos of the present building conditions and blue prints for the addition were reviewed. This 24x30 foot addition would be on the east end of the maintenance building. The board approved the plan to build this addition.
Supt. Sitterud said that there were new laws and regulations that he would bring before the board at the next meeting.
Black reported that he was in the process of looking for a new financial program for the School District. "We have set up meetings to demonstrate the different software throughout the summer. We will tour three districts up North to get the perspective of the people using those programs and not the vender perspective," reported Black.
The next school board meeting will be on July 20 at 7 p.m. at the district office.