The Goessel school board spent a considerable time discussing budget issues during its May 13 regular meeting.
Business Administrator Chet Roberts said state aid five years ago amounted to $4,400 per student, but has been reduced to $3,838 per student. Even though Goessel has 20 more students than five years ago, the drop in state funding makes a difference.
In addition, Roberts said the state is paying only 80 percent of its commitment.
“All districts are having to deal with it,” he said.
Board member James Wiens added, “We can expect less state funding,” which puts more responsibility on the local community.
Regarding the local option budget, Superintendent John Fast said, “As we go up on the LOB, we maximize state aid dollars.”
The board acknowledged the possibility that a position might need to be cut. They spent nearly an hour and a half in executive sessions discussing money issues.
In open session, they voted to eliminate the librarian/yearbook position at the high school.
The board also discussed whether to divide the 2013-14 fourth-grade class. This year, the class has 31 students and is divided into two classrooms. The board made no decision about next year.
The board discussed laptop computers. Boden said all high school students have a laptop computer assigned to them to use during the school day. Currently, the computers have to stay at the school. However, plans are under way to allow students to take the computers home next school year.
Boden is working on an “acceptable use policy.” The board discussed how to assess a fee for the computers. Should everyone pay, or only those who use the computer at home? No decision was made at this meeting.
Fast said the technology committee recommended continuing laptops for fourth- and fifth-graders and upgrading computer use for grades six to eight. He also said the computer server needs to be upgraded.
The board discussed the possibility of providing breakfast at the high school. The state now requires schools to charge students for lunch seconds, which Boden said that is a financial hardship for some families.
That issue raised concern for those students and prompted the question of breakfast. Boden said 10 percent of the junior high/high school students would participate in a breakfast program on a daily basis, and many more would on an occasional basis.
The board made no decision about breakfast for grades 6-12.
In other business, the board:
• approved the resignation of Robert Tierney as band director for grades 5-12. In his letter of resignation, Tierney expressed appreciation for the opportunity to teach at Goessel.
Tierney taught at Goessel for three years and has accepted a position at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Newton as director of religious education and music.
The board will accept applications for the band position.
• approved a contract for Andrew Voth for the grades 6-12 vocal music position. Voth is a graduate of Topeka High School and Bethel College. He did his student teaching in Lawrence.
• approved a contract for Ricardo Sanchez for the K-12 art position. Sanchez, also a Bethel graduate, was a student of Goessel principal Scott Boden when Boden taught science at Hesston.
• heard about plans to honor art teacher Brian Stucky following his retirement.
• approved extending the contract for Fast and Boden.
• approved $3,216.43 for six students and two sponsors to attend the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America national conference in Nashville, Tenn., July 6-12.
The group plans to use the school’s suburban to drive to the conference. They will participate in a competition, attend conference meetings and listen to speakers and skits. They also plan to do some sightseeing.
• heard Boden report about spring sports.
“The weather wreaked havoc on spring sports,” he said, expressing appreciation for the willingness of school personnel to be flexible with schedules that changed due to the weather. Some events were rescheduled, and others were canceled.
• discussed the possibility of implementing a go.edustar messaging system that would allow for phone, text and email messages to be sent to specific groups quickly and easily.
For example, parents could be notified of schedule changes in case of bad weather. The start-up fee would be $500, with a $2.25 per/student fee the first year, $2.75 per year after that. No decision was made at this meeting.
• heard that teachers Gina Bergin and Zana Manche plan to attend the Food and Nutrition Science Institute July 15-19 in Lincoln, Neb. There will be no cost to the school or the teachers. It will be paid by a grant from the University of Nebraska and Kansas State University.
• heard from Fast the entire elementary school had taken a trip to Cowtown in Wichita, paid for by boxtop collection money. He commended Susan Nafziger and Sarah Simington for organizing the experience.
• was updated about the construction project by Fast. He said bids should be ready in summer and construction can begin in fall.
• heard the Marion County Special Education Cooperative report from board member Kelly Booton. He said the MCSEC board is working on facilities issues. He also said the review of director David Sheppard had been positive: “He’s doing a great job.”
• heard The Learning Consortium report from Darla Meysing. Fast said a review of the consortium is planned to see if there are additional ways it can be used.
• discussed the rising cost of health insurance.
• approved the use of a school bus for transportation to and from Camp Wa-Shun-Ga, as in past years.
• heard about a two-day evaluation training session.
• planned a special board meeting for 7 a.m. May 15 to discuss bond sale details with Steve Shogren.
• heard that training for new board members would be June 22.
• changed the date of next month’s meeting to Wednesday, June 19.