USD 410 enrollment higher than budget estimate

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ALEEN RATZLAFF
Unified School District 410’s general fund budget will be about $51,300 greater than anticipated for this school year because official enrollment has exceeded earlier estimates.

At Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Gordon Mohn reported that the official Sept. 20 enrollment is 666 students. The district published its budget estimate based on 654.5 students.

“Most of the increase is due to (enrollment at) the Learning Center,” Mohn said.

The Learning Center has a full-time equivalence that is 13.3 students greater than expected.

“Most of the extra money (for the general budget) will go to the Learning Center,” said Mohn, adding that the district’s contribution to the Learning Center is calculated by multiplying the FTE enrollment by the base budget per pupil.

“We’ll need to republish the budget, which will be done after the first of the year,” Mohn said, which will give time for other changes that may come as result of the annual audit.

The board considered a request from Stuart Holmes to use school vans to transport cross country runners to Colorado for a camp experience next summer.

Approving Holmes’ request would have required a change in the board’s vehicle-use policy.

According to the policy, “Groups allowed use of the district buses may not travel outside of Kansas.”

The board decided not to take action to change the policy.

Regarding other policy issues, the board approved a series of updates from the Kansas Association of School Boards and recommendations from the district’s Leadership Team.

Those recommendations were presented at the Sept. 13 meeting and have been available for public review. No public comments were offered.

The board added to next month’s agenda a revised policy for student trips. Currently, all requests for trips outside of Kansas must be approved by the board. The revision would allow groups to travel to Kansas City, Mo., without official board action.

The public can offer comments regarding the policy before the board takes action next month.

Richard Nickel from the Insurance Center in Hillsboro spoke with the board about liability coverage.

Nickel said the premium for next year has increased because the value of the district’s property, set at nearly $20 million, has increased by $1 million since last year.

Nickel said the town class rating for the property has increased from seven to nine. The rating increase will not change this year’s premium, but it could affect future costs.

He said he’s investigating why the rating has increased and what could be done to lower the rating.

The board discussed the option of purchasing an umbrella liability policy, which increases liability limits covering auto, general liability, the board and all employees.

“I think Jerry (Hinerman) and I are comfortable (with the current coverage),” Mohn said.

HHS principal Dale Honeck was the only building administrator attending Monday’s meeting.

“We had a really good homecoming this year,” Honeck told the board. “We got a lot of participation from the kids.”

Later in the meeting, Honeck and Mohn explained their position on whether changes should be made with the block schedule for high school classes.

The current schedule allows teachers an 86-minute planning period and flexibility for students to take elective courses, Honeck said.

USD 410 and other school districts that are part of TEEN will discuss the current school schedules.

Mohn said some districts are not pleased with the block schedule.

“Going back to a schedule with seven courses a day would affect electives (for us),” Mohn said.

In his report to the board, Mohn addressed the following:

— plans to recognize academic excellence at a home basketball game.

— future discussion about the way the district is divided for board representation.

– plans to acquire two automated external defibrillators, one for the elementary school building and one for the middle and high school buildings.

– accounts receivable software to facilitate access by parents to billing information.

– credit-card usage by parents to pay school fees.

— discuss changing the definition for health insurance eligibility.

Board member Doug Weinbrenner was absent from the meeting.

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