Given enrollment, Goessel board looks to tighten belt

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
At the Aug. 14 meeting of the Goessel School Board, elementary school principal John Fast reported that enrollment figures project 165 students in the K-6 building for the new school year, compared to 169 last year.



Junior/senior high principal Stuart Holmes reported that 149 students are expected in grades 7-12.



Fast said home-schooled children are allowed to be involved part-time in the school system if they wish.



Fast said 23 students are enrolled in the after-school program, but not all of them will participate every day. Irvin Voth is the director, and the program is scheduled to begin the first day of school.



Fast said the after-school program was instrumental in enrolling two students from outside the USD 411 school district. He said the program is unique because of the combination of the school, community, and churches working together.



Superintendent Chet Roberts reviewed a booklet he had prepared that explains the proposed 2000-2001 budget, which represents a decrease of 2.738 mills. He emphasized the need to be frugal and to help teachers at the same time.



Roberts quoted the auditor as saying, “It’s (the budget) tight. You guys do a good job.”



The base budget per pupil (BBPP) had been raised $50 by the state last year.



“The main way we get our funds is by student count,” he said.



Roberts explained that the capital outlay portion of the budget has been very low because of the building project. It needs to be higher to provide for ongoing expenses.



Roberts said he has budgeted $60,000 for a bus, but he hopes to get one for less than that.



He is encouraging teachers to cut expenses by only using 800 numbers or e-mail when ordering supplies. He has also asked them not to set their air conditioning thermostats lower than 72 degrees. That is even too cool for some rooms, he said, but barely adequate for the computer rooms.



Teachers will be limited to $750 for supplies, and administrative supplies have been cut back, too.



Roberts said everything has been cut except salaries, repairs, and maintenance; those items have been increased.



Fast said teachers have been limited to two field trips per grade this year to save transportation money.



“I think the staff is very receptive of cutting expenses,” Roberts said. Holmes reported that instead of hiring someone to set up computers, Justin Coup’s Computer I class will do the work, thereby saving money for the school.



“We’re trying to work our money pretty hard,” Roberts said. He has moved some money out of the checking account into CDs or money market accounts for a higher interest rate, and that interest will go into capital outlay.



The board voted to approve the $3.2 million budget. They also voted to approve the monthly financial statements of $150,248.60.



Roberts highlighted several items, including dirt work, curtains for the grade school library, $14,820 for computers, and a $27,784.33 payment to the Marion County Special Education Co-op.



Roberts said he has some concerns about the co-op cost, and board member Harding Duerksen reported on the recent co-op meeting he had attended.



Roberts and board member Wade Dickerson reported on the TLC (The Learning Consortium) charter that will soon expire. The purpose of the TLC has been to share equipment for the wide area network (WAN).



But each school in the consortium is using its own Internet access, so there is little need for inter-connectivity.



Roberts said the TLC no longer has a director, which is not an ideal situation. This year, each school will spend $5,000 on the TLC, compared to $20,000 last year.



Asked how many students use the ITV (inter-active television) provided by the TLC, Roberts responded that 25 to 31 Goessel students use it.



Canton-Galva has the most students involved. Moundridge does not have as many, and Hesston has the least. Roberts said Goessel uses the ITV for language, advanced classes, and college classes that cannot otherwise be offered.



Dickerson explained that the TLC equipment belongs to the consortium and stays with the consortium if a school drops out of it. But the equipment in the studios belongs to the individual schools.



Roberts said that Little River is using the Internet to teach some classes they can’t offer.



In other business:



— The board accepted the resignation of Heidi Coloney as English I teacher and approved a contract for Elaine Schroeder to fill that position.



— Fast reported he has received documents from Steve Adams stating that the school has completed the QPA accreditation process.



— Holmes reported that the FCCLA (Family, Career, Community Leaders of America) students who attended the national convention in Orlando, Fla., came home with gold medals.



— Roberts reported that one bus route has been eliminated, and all the busses passed inspection.



— The board reappointed Dan Miller and Harding Duerksen to the meet and confer (negotiations with teachers) committee.



— The board approved the second reading of the recruitment and hiring policy that now includes a section requiring a background check on all new employees who have lived in the state of Kansas less than a specified amount of time.



— Roberts presented a Boardmanship Honor Roll Level 1 award to Lynel Unrau, board chairman.



— The board viewed the chain-link fence that has now been erected between private property owners and school property.

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