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 CAB Facing ‘Very Challenging’ Financial Situation

July 23, 2008 - The Charles A. School Board voted at its July 15 meeting to give its new superintendent permission to meet with a financial consulting firm in Indianapolis.

"We are facing some financial challenges in our General Fund," Superintendent Gary Storie told board members during last week's meeting. He said CAB is "looking at a deficit this year."

Storie said he and others at CAB's central office are looking for ways to address these financial concerns. He said he was looking forward to working with staff to develop a 2009 budget "that is not running at deficit, but which, in fact, will be balanced."

Board member Steve Dalton, who sits on the board's finance committee, described CAB's current financial state as "very challenging." He said there are "very pressing concerns" in the short term.

"I think it would be irresponsible of us not to look three to five years out in the future and come up with a strategic plan to map out for the district," Dalton said. "As much as we're consumed by current situations, both financial and otherwise, I think we really need to look further ahead than just a year or two and try to see where we're going to be in five years, at least."

The board gave Storie permission to contact financial advisors at Therber and Brock in Indianapolis. Storie said there would be no charge for the initial consultation, and that the firm would prepare a proposal if they feel there is anything they can do to help.

In other financial matters, the board approved monthly claims totaling $746,653.88. The board also appointed Storie to be the board's spokesperson for negotiations with CAB's Classroom Teachers Association, and voted to have him draft a new policy on mileage reimbursement for CAB employees.

"I feel like right now, with costs the way they are, mileage has kind of gotten out of hand," board member Mark Fort said.

Dalton agreed, noting that some employees had waited an entire year to seek reimbursement. The monthly claims approved by the board at last week’s meeting included $2,175.99 in fuel reimbursements to six employees.

"It's not that it's not legitimate - they're very legitimate claims,” Dalton said. “But I think from a cash-flow standpoint … it's going to be a lot more manageable if we can get mileage reimbursements more frequently.”

The board also voted to approve on first reading a new policy public comments policy that will eliminate the current requirement of having patrons sign up in advance in order to speak at a public meeting. The new policy will also reduce the amount of speaking time from five to two minutes per speaker, but will keep the total time for public comment capped at 20 minutes, as it is now. If approved on second reading at the board's next meeting, the new policy will go into effect immediately.

In personnel matters, the board accepted a notice of retirement from KHS teacher Ginny Lumpkin, who chaired the school's business department. The board also approved several extracurricular coaching assignments for the 2008-2009 school year, as well as 19 regular bus drivers, nine substitute drivers and three special education bus aides.

The board approved a resolution giving Storie authority to make hiring decisions prior to board approval under certain circumstances. Conflict of interest declarations were accepted from board members Womack, Fort and Kopp.

The board voted to accept a Title I federal grant worth $187,377.02. Storie explained that the grant is used to provide supplemental instruction to at-risk students at Carthage and Kennard elementaries.

The board heard departmental reports from Transportation Director Janet White and Technology Director Bruce Sowers. White also went over revisions to the bus drivers handbook, which the board approved.


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