School board emphasizes tax shift not increase
|Special programs and other items will have to be cut if the voted leeway doesn't pass the June 27 election. The Leonardo on Wheels science program recently visited Canyon View Junior High.|
The Emery County School Board began their regular monthly meeting with a public hearing concerning the 2006-2007 budget. Business administrator Ross Huntington presented a power point with the proposals for the upcoming budget. "This is a tentative budget for now. The new fiscal year begins July 1, and if this tentative budget is accepted, it gives authorization from the governing body to begin spending for the next school year. The final budget hearing will be held in August, assuming the voted leeway is approved," stated Huntington.
Following his power point and explanation of the budget revenue and expenditures, Huntington added, "In the end with the projections of increases in fuel and other things, this is a balanced budget." When once again in open meeting, the board accepted the tentative budget.
Superintendent Kirk Sitterud opened a discussion concerning the voted leeway election that is upcoming. "We have met will the commissioners, all school personnel and principals, and had an article in the newspaper. We are doing everything we can to educate the voters about this issue. This is a tax shift. While there will be an increase in one area, a tax rate reduction will happen at the same time in another area. The bottom line tax rate will remain the same. It is very important for this school district for this issue to pass."
Board member Rue Ware informed the other members of the board that there is a group of people out there who do not want this to happen. "We can't ignore them," Ware stated. Superintendent Sitterud replied this is a matter of educating the voters on this issue.
Sam Singleton, another board member, encouraged everyone to talk about this issue with family and friends, and encourage them to go vote in the upcoming election. Huntington added, as information to those who are critical, the amount of taxes the district receives has been reduced by about $4 million in the past 12 years.
"This is not a tax increase. If it doesn't pass, it will have a significant impact on the school children. This is not a threat, this is a reality. It is a shift, not an increase. We have no choice in this matter, it is an audit directive. This is a Republican primary, but everyone, Republican or Democrat, can vote on this leeway issue at the polls. Everyone will have the opportunity to vote," stated Sitterud.
In another budget matter, the school board authorized the business administrator to make the necessary changes to the 2005-2006 budget. After a budget is adopted, and through the year, revenue and expenditures sometimes vary from the budget projections. This authorization from the board gives permission to change the budget from budgeted amounts to actual amounts.
Jeneane Warren, district nutrition manager, explained the need to raise the lunch prices in the schools for the next school year. "Over the last year, the rising cost of fuel has driven all expenses up. I am suggesting raising school lunch prices by 10 cents and breakfasts by 15 cents. This increase will enable the programs to break even. Over the next four years, we are looking at the projections of salary and insurance increases, and this raise will cover those increases," said Warren.
Huntington added, "Over the past two years, the district has lost six cents per meal served. I recommend the board approved this increase." The board approve the increase with the statement that it is still a very good price for a meal.
Ed Clark, supervisor of vocational education, requested the board to fund the student built home program. He stated that over the past seven years, the program has teamed up with Utah Housing, and that partnership is not panning out. "We want to go on our own. We feel we can build a better quality house without the budget and rule changes in the middle of the school year. Utah Housing also has requirements for buyers. We feel that we can have a larger pool of buyers if we go on our own. The board approved to appropriate the funds to continue the student built house program and discontinue the partnership with Utah Housing.
Huntington requested permission from the board to step up the purchase of two school buses. If the buses are ordered now instead of in six months when they are scheduled, the district can save $12,000, by locking in the price now. The board approved.
Two parking lot resurfacing projects were discussed. Huntington explained the project at Emery High School. This is the parking lot south of the main school building and north of the seminary building. The parties involved in this parking lot ownership are the LDS Church, Castle Dale City and the Emery School District. An agreement has been made between the entities for the repair work to be completed before school begins in the fall.
The other project is resurfacing work at San Rafael Junior High School. "The district has the money available for these two projects, and I recommend doing this repair work," said Huntington. The board agreed and approved moving ahead with these two projects.
Huntington also announced the surplus property owned by the district. He stated that two Bluebird buses, and two Chevrolet Corsicas are available. The board approved to dispose of the surplus property.
Superintendent Sitterud requested the board to create a new head custodian designation. One school in the district has a head custodian who supervises five other custodians. Most of the schools head custodians only supervise one or a part time person. The board approved to create a Head Custodian II designation for anyone who is supervising three or more people.
The board approved to hire several new employees for the upcoming school year. They are: Cole Pitchforth at San Rafael Junior High; Kelly Nelson at San Rafael; Jodi Sitterud at Cleveland; Tiffany Christiansen at Castle Dale Elementary; Melissa Esplin at Emery High; Candy Hess in the lunchroom at Ferron; Kory Larsen at Cottonwood as custodian; Shawn Price as custodian at Castle Dale; and Mindy Larsen as the speech pathologist for the district.
The next Emery County School Board meeting will be held July 19 at 7 p.m. at the board office in Huntington.