School Board discusses budgets
At the Emery County School District office, the board held two public hearings concerning budget matters. The first was to adopt a tentative budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal year. Business administrator Ross Huntington stated the purpose of this hearing was to give the public opportunity to comment on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. If the tentative budget is approved by the board, the district will have the legal authorization to begin spending on July 1.
Huntington stated that the figures in the tentative budget are approximate as the state has not sent the amended tax rate. The rate he has been given has changed since the printing of the budget. He also noted that the format for the budget has changed under direction from the State Office of Education. This new format is more functional, and more easily understood.
Projected revenues for the 2005-2006 fiscal year are $14,938,648. This is an estimated total from all sources. The expected expenditures for this fiscal year total $15, 483,895. The projected shortfall will be taken from the fund balance. Following comments, questions, and discussion, the board approved the adoption of the 2005-2006 fiscal year budget.
The second public hearing was to take comments concerning opening and authorizing adjustments to the 2004-2005 fiscal year budget. Huntington explained the changes which have been made to the budget during the past year. Unlike county and city government entities that are required to hold public hearings continuously throughout the year, the school districts are allowed to do the process only once, at the end of the fiscal year. The school board reviewed the budget and expenditures and approved to authorize Huntington to make the needed adjustments.
Building and maintenance supervisor LeRoy Maxfield requested the board's consideration of a project to retrofit the heating system at Canyon View Junior High School. He explained the problems that have plagued the school, and the maintenance department has exhausted all avenues of repair to the heating system currently in place. He has requested three companies visit the school and estimate the costs of doing the needed upgrade. The need is to upgrade the system to be converted to computer controlled.
Following a review of the bids for the repair work, the board approved the bid from Atkinson Electronics. Maxfield explained that the work can be mostly completed before school reconvenes in the fall. The type of system that will be installed into Canyon View Junior High is the same type as the one currently in place at Emery High School.
Two letters of resignation were accepted from Patrick and Kathy Brady. The couple is currently teaching at Green River High School, but will be relocating out of state for employment. Superintendent Kirk Sitterud noted that the position for a science teacher at Green River High School is still open. Applications can be submitted to the district office.
Other personnel actions were: newly hired teachers, Dean Stilson, Canyon View Junior High, social studies, TLC, and shop; Jennie Allinson, fifth grade at Ferron Elementary; Susan Wilde, family and consumer science at Green River High School; and John Hughes, sixth grade at Book Cliff Elementary. Christine Hunt was named counselor, half day at San Rafael Junior High and half day at Emery High School, and Nancy Martinez was named the new athletic director at Emery High School.
Superintendent Sitterud went on to explain several policy changes which need to be approved. These changes come from a request by the Utah State legislature. The first concerns the deadline for application for early retirement. That deadline will be March 1. Another change was a date of Jan. 15 for the districts evaluation plan. Also, in the post retirement plan, several restrictions were added. These restrictions deal with rehire and recruitment of retirees following retirement.
A change in the student fees, fines and charges involved wording clarifications. There will be a change in documentation of the students fees, and the other change is to clarify items that are not waivable with a fee waiver.
With the rising fuel costs presenting a large expense to the district, Superintendent Sitterud instructed J.J. Grant and Jed Jensen to investigate and revise the districts field trip and excursion policy. This policy has not been revised since fuel prices were 70 cents a gallon. After much investigation and research, Grant and Jensen recommended a policy change to the board. That suggestion is to allot each school in the district a set number of travel miles, and review the policy every three years. This measure would allow each school to evaluate their field trips.
Superintendent Sitterud said that he has spoken with the principals at each school, and those principals are in favor of this change. Another aspect of the travel plan was the addition of two components to the field trip policy. The first concerns supervision of students, and responsibilities of the chaperones and supervising teachers. Also, the chaperones will be given specific instruction and information of the requirements of the position of chaperone. The application for field trips will be completed electronically.
Another policy change being considered involves substitute teachers in the district. Substitute teachers will be required to be licensed not certified, and long term substitute teachers will receive no benefits. The compensation scale for substitute is being revised, and the training for those substitutes will expand to two days. All of the policy changes were considered by the board and approved.
Huntington informed the board about the fire at Ferron Elementary. He stated that the a teacher from the school was in the playground at the time of the ignition of the fire. Due to the rapid reporting of the incident, and the very quick response from the Ferron Fire Department, a major disaster was averted. A group of workers had been in the building and placed some materials outside the building that spontaneously combusted. Damage was kept to a minimum and, "the district is very grateful," said Huntington.
The next school board meeting will be held July 20 at 7 p.m. at the district office.