|2011-12 school budget reflects $133,333 deficit|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Tough decisions were required for Holyoke School District’s 2011-12 budget which was approved Tuesday, June 21, with a $133,333 deficit.
The school board acknowledged the budget reflects the use of $133,333 from the beginning fund balance or reserves for general instructional costs for educational purposes.
This deficit amount represents one-third of the available fund balance above the minimum acceptable balance of $1.2 million.
In building the new budget, the school faced $336,353 less revenue due to state cuts in per pupil funding, as well as reduction in number of students. Other cost increases that can’t be changed amounted to $115,388.
With this total of $451,741 in changes, tough decisions were required.
Despite the deficit budget, Supt. Bret Miles said the district is financially sound because the tough choices were made.
In further summary of the budget, he cited the need to be mindful of the fact the district is asking people to meet high goals with fewer people and resources. He also noted the district’s focus on Destination 2016 goals.
Miles said the mill levy override which passed last November made a significant contribution to the budget status. Board member Jeff Tharp added he doesn’t think they could say the district is financially sound without the mill levy override.
Miles noted the mill levy override generates about $310,000. About $185,000 goes toward capital projects and has been carried over to the 2011-12 budget.
The second piece puts $45,000 toward technology, and the last $80,000 from the mill levy override is designated for teacher supply budgets and personnel.
Board members had been questioned about the justification for giving staff bonuses rather than keeping a teacher. Supt. Miles noted he’s not regretting the decision for giving bonuses.
Board president Dan Kafka pointed out the staff bonuses were funded by Ed Jobs Fund moneys. This was one-time federal money which had to be used for personnel in some way.
The following appropriations for the adopted budget were approved for 2011-12:
General Fund $5,303,107
Bond Redemption 480,850
Food Service 208,600
Trust and Agency 360,000
Total Approp. $6,649,182
Attendance regulation, other policies discussed
Updates on revisions to the regulation for JR/SR high student absences and excuses were reviewed by the school board at last week’s meeting.
Attendance topic areas include absence notification, school-related absences, excused absences, unexcused absences, make-up work, tardiness and excessive absence notification.
The regulation cites several changes from last year’s guidelines.
Wording was changed for the first consideration for an excused absence. It now says, “A student who is temporarily ill or injured or whose absence is approved by the administrator of the school of attendance on a prearranged basis. Prearranged absences shall be approved for appointments or circumstances which cannot be taken care of outside of school hours.”
Students and parents will now be notified by letter when the student reaches their seventh day with an absence in a semester, excluding school related absences. This past year, notification was made after five absences.
In further policy evaluation, the board looked at a draft of Policy KF on community use of school facilities. It will return to the July 19 board meeting for first reading.
Second-reading approval was given for the following six policies: loan programs, inventories, annual audit, bidding procedures, authorized use of school-owned materials or equipment and walkers and riders.
In other business June 21, the Re-1J board:
—noted its July 5 meeting will be replaced by a board retreat from 5-9 p.m. at Phillips County Event Center Ortner room.
—listened to HHS senior Whitni Redman, who shared the campaign presentation she will give at the national FBLA conference in Orlando, Fla. as she competes for a national FBLA office.
—approved a memorandum of understanding for the food service program with Haxtun and Frenchman (Fleming) school districts.
Holyoke Enterprise June 30, 2011