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Back in Black – School Board Gets Better Financial News as 2008 Ends
January 28, 2009 - The Charles A. Beard School Board received some welcome financial news at their Jan. 20 regular monthly meeting. Superintendent Gary Storie advised board members that CAB had met its goal of finishing 2008 in the black. He said all of the corporation’s outstanding bills had also been paid before the year ended, including a $757,781.18 court judgment for special education bills CAB neglected to pay in 2007 and early 2008.
In its General Fund, Storie said CAB finished the year with about $102,000 more than it had at the beginning of 2008, and had a balance of about $400,000. He said that all other property-tax supported funds also finished in the black.
Storie credited former interim superintendent Ray Pavy , CAB Business Manager David Bundy and prior school board members with taking actions – including the elimination of some positions – that resulted in these savings. “This sort of turn-around doesn’t happen in just a few months,” he said.
With General Fund revenue for school corporations now coming from the state instead of property taxes, Storie told the board he expected there to be fewer cash flow problems. Over the past few years, when that revenue was coming from property taxes, CAB, like many other school corporations, often had to deal with delays in getting their tax draws from the county.
Acting on Storie’s recommendation, the board approved four monetary transfers that put $100,000 into the Rainy Day Fund the board created in December. The transferred money came from the following funds: Capital Projects ($40,000); Debt Service ($18,000); Preschool Special Education ($20,000); and Transportation ($22,000).
While the school board’s agenda for the evening was shorter than many from past months, the Jan. 20 meeting still ended up being one of the longest of this school year, clocking in at over 100 minutes.
Most of the meeting was devoted to three presentations made to the board. Insurance agent Chad Leakey of Leakey Insurance spent about 40 minutes reviewing CAB’s insurance coverage, and two CAB principals took nearly as much time, combined, discussing student performance on last fall’s ISTEP-Plus exams.
Leakey went through a packet of materials that outlined the school corporation’s policy with Indiana Insurance, which is in effect through the end of the year.
Throughout his presentation, he fielded questions from board members, several of which had to do with a policy option called Violent Event Response Coverage. The VERC, Leakey explained, would provide a death benefit for any student who loses their life from a violent act on school property. The board agreed to pay an additional $187 yearly for the $300,000 in coverage, bringing its total premium to $128,602.
After Leakey finished, Knightstown Intermediate School Principal Don Scheumann and Knightstown High School Principal Scott Ritchie gave their presentations on ISTEP results. Both principals provided board members with handouts showing student performance on last fall’s test and discussed concerns they had about their students’ academic efforts and steps being taken to improve student performance.
The school board approved the purchase of two new Bluebird school buses at a total cost of $157,066 at last week’s meeting. This price included a $10,400 reduction CAB will receive for trading in two older buses, and the school corporation might also receive an additional five-percent savings for paying in cash. The board dealt with several personnel matters at last week’s meeting, including two resignations. Storie advised the board that speech teacher Emily Maynard had resigned, and that KIS teacher Jamie Trautmann had stepped down as sponsor for the school’s academic bowl team.
On Storie’s recommendation, the board approved hiring former CAB speech teacher Beth Willard to fill in until a permanent replacement is found for Maynard. Willard will earn $35.30 an hour as an independent contractor, an amount Storie said was based on what a teacher of Willard’s experience would earn on CAB’s teacher salary schedule.
Storie also advised the board that a KHS media center aide will now spend part of her time assisting the technology department, which had one of its employees resign in December. While the media center aide, who was not identified by name, will see no increase in her hourly pay, Storie did say she will now work during the summer, which could add as many as 75 days to the 185 she works during the school year. The board took no vote to approve this change in the media center aide’s job responsibilities or the added work days.
The board also approved several extracurricular appointments at last week’s meeting. Michelle Leonard was hired to lead an extracurricular choral program for KHS students, and Gloria Means was hired to head the Knightstown Elementary Historical Society. Also approved were the following coaching assignments: boys varsity football (Bob Prescott); assistant varsity football (Scott Stanley); varsity cross country (James Jahrsdoerfer); and KIS cross country (K.C. Salter).
In other business, the board voted to table further consideration of changes to a policy on the eligibility of resident and nonresident students that had been approved on first reading in December. Storie is expected to make some minor changes to policy’s wording and bring it back to the board at the February meeting.
The board also approved a contract with The Compass Navigating Education, LLC, for instructional software that allows students to go online to earn credits needed to graduate in courses not offered at KHS. Under the contract, which runs through May 15, CAB will pay $250 per student for the first 10 semester-long courses, with the cost dropping $15 for each additional 10 courses, with a minimum cost of $205 per course.
Board members were provided with a 60-page list at last week’s meeting of more than 1,000 year-end transfers that were made in December to balance CAB’s books. The board approved these transfers at their December meeting, even though they had no details at that time about what the specific transfers were or their amounts.
The board also approved a statement of fiscal goals for 2009. The statement is published as part of CAB’s Annual Performance Report (see page 8 of this issue). The board also approved claims totaling $2,789,875.48.
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