Noting they hope it’s the last year they’ll have to approve spending funds from the beginning fund balance, Holyoke School Board members authorized the use of $60,000 from reserves for a one-time staff salary payment as they approved the 2014-15 final budget.
Very few changes were noted from the budget that was adopted in June, noted Superintendent Bret Miles at the Thursday, Dec. 11, School Board meeting.
Prior to adopting the 2014-15 budget, the board reviewed and accepted the 2013-14 audit report from Scott Szabo of Lauer, Szabo & Associates, PC.
Szabo noted a variance of only $14,797 from the projected to the actuals in the $5.3 million general fund budget. He said this indicates the district planned and developed a very realistic budget, and the board and administration stayed within that budget.
General fund expenditures exceeded revenues by $68,735, leaving a fund balance at year-end of $1,328,998.
Szabo also reviewed the bond redemption, construction, food service, trust and agency, and pupil activity fund balances for the year.
Following Szabo’s audit report, board member Michelle Van Overbeke commended the work of Sharon Thompson, director of budget and finance for the district.
The 2014-15 budget that was accepted by the board projects an ending balance of $1,268,998 on June 30, 2015.
Budget appropriations for 2014-15 were adopted as follows:
General Fund $5,884,699
Bond Redemption $636,145
Food Service $228,000
Trust and Agency $393,384
Pupil Activity Fund $373,402
Total Approp $7,617,472
A total mill levy of 38.823 mills for property tax year 2014 was also approved at last week’s board meeting.
This includes 27.0 mills for the general fund, 7.5 for mill levy override approved by voters in 2010, 0.323 mills for abatement and 4.0 mills for bond redemption.
Due to refinancing and other factors, the board was able to lower the bond redemption from from 4.25 to 4.0 mills. Next year, that will reduce to just under 2.5 mills.
The assessed valuation for Holyoke School District as certified this month is $63,630,357, which is up almost $4 million from a year ago.
Personnel changes noted
Several personnel changes were approved by the local school board last week.
Andrea Kammer’s resignation as a sixth-grade teacher was approved, effective Dec. 19. She will be assuming the elementary principal role in Wray at the first of the year.
Other resignations and staff additions involve extra-duty assignments. Resignations were accepted from HS girls’ assistant basketball coach Kia Kassman and HS head cheer coach Jennifer Philips.
Approval was given on a 5-1 vote for HS girls’ basketball assistant coaches Victoria Timm and Greg Wakeman to split the assistant coach stipend. Casting the dissenting vote, Nici Akey said her concern is for more communication, as she has concerns about an overlap of coaching responsibilities in the same season. She emphasized her vote had nothing to do with the individuals involved.
Abby Einspahr was hired as the HS cheer coach, Sherman Kage as HS head boys’ baseball coach and Jesus Hermosillo as HS volunteer wrestling coach.
CASB convention reviewed
Board members recapped the sessions they attended at the Dec. 4-7 convention of the Colorado Association of School Boards.
Linda Jelden said one of the more interesting sessions was a panel discussion on technology. She especially enjoyed the input from the specialist in infrastructure.
Dennis Herman cited the Saturday afternoon session with legislators, saying he thinks the tone at the legislature will be different this year.
Pat Wiebers said another technology session was very beneficial to her in looking at the direction needed for progress. She cited the importance of communication, educating the community and bringing students on board.
Akey appreciated the breakout session on websites addressing college application direction. She said she also learned a lot in the legal and board member communication sessions.
From the rural cafe sessions, Wiebers said she feels the Holyoke district is miles ahead of others in the knowledge of what’s coming with graduation requirements and more.
Herman said from a session with CASB executive director Ken DeLay and Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond, there was a very warning attitude about districts choosing to opt out of requirements. Superintendent Bret Miles said Boulder and Cherry Creek are the first two on the line for opting out.
Jelden said the input from the student strand is always a hit with her. This year, HHS junior Danielle Brandt participated in the student strand. Several board members commented on her input from the session. Board president Kris Camblin said perhaps the local board should choose a project for the student council to get feedback from the students.
It was also noted that the art exhibit at the convention included work from local students Monica Dominguez, Brian Beltran and Kylie Purkeypile.
Trumper addresses board
Bob Trumper had several questions that he addressed to the board at last week’s meeting.
He asked if Miles, Camblin and Herman had a meeting at Highline Electric and if they thought this was in violation of the Sunshine Law. It was first emphasized that such a meeting didn’t happen.
However, with regard to the Sunshine Law, Miles clarified that two board members and a staff member can meet within the law. Three or more board members cannot meet to discuss public business without announcing the public meeting. The Sunshine or Open Meetings Law impacts elected officials, not staff.
Citing discussion from the Dec. 1 board retreat on the superintendent search, Trumper asked for clarification on several topics. He asked what Miles felt was progress in the district, what was meant by matching the district culture, what was the reasoning behind asking a superintendent candidate how he/she would handle and manage critics of athletic programs, if there’s concern for low test scores, and who would be key community members to possibly be part of the superintendent search process.
Progress in classrooms, with the budget, with facilities and with employees who are pleased were cited. With regard to the athletic program, Miles said this is a typical topic dealt with by superintendents in every district. Asking a candidate about examples of handling such situations could be beneficial.
Van Overbeke cited the district’s approach to drilling down on each student’s test scores to assess individual areas of need. “We feel good about the potential we’re seeing, and we need the community to understand” about drilling down actual scores, she added.
Trumper asked about students attending other districts and was told the CDE website reports specific information on the number of local students attending other districts, as well as the number attending this district from neighboring districts.
Trumper concluded by saying he doesn’t feel Miles should be involved in the search for a new superintendent.
In other business Dec. 11, the Re-1J board:
—acknowledged gifts of a sound system in the old gym from the Dragon Fan Club and Dragon Hoopsters; and a new camera from the Hoopsters.
—approved second reading of repealed board policies presented in September.
—noted a Day at the Capitol is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 28.
Holyoke Enterprise December 18, 2014