USD 410 board OKs budget with $70,000 for reserves

Board members of Unified School District 410 approved Monday evening a 2003-04 budget with $70,000 designated for reserves.

The reserve funds are necessary because Superintendent Gordon Mohn said he anticipates substantial spending reductions will be necessary for the 2004-05 budget.

“We’re at a maximum funding for the local option budget,” Mohn said about this year’s budget.

School districts can allocate up to 25 percent of the general fund for the LOB.

“The challenge will be next year with declining enrollment,” he said.

Mohn said he projects a deficit of more than $130,000 for next year, based on the district’s declining enrollment coupled with the likelihood the state will not increase its support for schools.

“We’ll continue to put pressure on the state legislature (to increase the base budget per pupil),” Mohn added.

Mohn reported, as of Monday, the district’s anticipated student head count is 658, which is down 54 students from the head count last September.

The board discussed and adopted a series of 17 new and revised board operation policies recommended by the Kansas Association of School Boards and the district leadership team.

Although the board has the option to alter proposed revisions, the policies were passed as proposed. Mohn said most of the policy revisions reflect changes in state laws.

Among the changes adopted include the following:

 delegating authority to interview and hire administrators to the superintendent.

Mohn said he plans to ask the board how they’d like to handle the hiring process on a case-by-case basis.

 setting a $20,000 limit for purchases the district can make without calling for bids.

“The change reflects the state’s (new) bid law,” Mohn said.

KASB also recommended the same dollar limit for purchasing decisions the district can make for projects and equipment without the board’s prior approval.

In both instances, the previous limit was $10,000.

allowing school bus drivers to follow speed limits established for roads and highways. In the past, more stringent speed limits were placed on school buses.

This, too, reflects changes in state law, Mohn said.

The board also placed a series of 12 other policy revisions on the agenda for action at the Sept. 8 meeting. Those policies cover issues such as parental consent for student surveys tied to federal money, computer use, release of student records and release of information about district employee salaries to the public.

Usage rates for district facilities and equipment will remain the same as last year. Those rates are determined by five group classifications ranging from school-sponsored groups to for-profit/private business groups.

The previous increase was two years ago.

In other business, the board:

heard reports from Activities Director Max Heinrich and building principals Evan Yoder, Corey Burton and Dale Honeck about schedules related to the start of school Friday.

“I’m learning things every day,” Yoder said about taking on the role of Hillsboro Elementary School principal.

As the new principal for Hillsboro Middle School, Burton agreed, “I’m learning something new every day, too.”

approved handbooks for students, parents, teachers, athletes and transportation.

approved issuance of a classified employee contract to Becky Lindsay to serve as Title I aide for the 2003-04 school year.

Lindsay, who recently earned her teaching certificate, will work 61/4 hours a day at $12 per hour.

 accepted the low bid of $64,990 from Street Plumbing and Heating of Salina to replace the heating and air conditioning unit at the HHS/HMS auditorium.

 heard a report from board member Debbie Geis about negotiations for the Marion County Special Education Cooperative board. So far, the MCSEC board has not reached an agreement about contracts for special-education teachers, Geis said.

Board member Doug Weinbrenner was absent from Monday’s board meeting.

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