Archive for Thursday, July 14, 2005

School board eyes funding numbers

July 14, 2005

A resolution to raise the mill levy, a 25-cent meal price increase and next year's budget were the major topics at Monday's Baldwin School Board meeting.
The board discussed and approved a capital outlay resolution to increase the capital outlay levy from 4 mills to 8 mills for one year with a 7-0 vote. Currently, there is a 4 mill capital outlay.
The state will provide approximately 30 percent of the capital outlay levy, because of the new school funding legislation. Because of this, Baldwin's school district taxpayers could actually only have a 5.6 mill capital outlay, an increase of 1.6, while the state picks up the rest.
"For the first time in history, the state will be involved in providing aid for capital outlay," Supt. James White said.
The mill levy increase will allow the district to make some facility improvements, ball field work and technology purchases.
The school board also talked about next year's budget. White presented the board with budget considerations, which included dollar amounts from the new school legislation.
White's information said the district would receive $222,997 more than last year.
"I am sure this isn't 100 percent, but it's fairly close I think," White said. "Having more money means that we won't have to cut positions or programs like we have in the last two or three years."
Board Member Lonnie Broers said the additional money will help the board fund things that have been needed in the last few years.
"It's a good thing," Broers said. "It's going to be money that we've needed in the past that we'll certainly have use for. Exactly how we are going to allocate those funds right now is still a decision the board has to make."
White said the money looks like a lot at first, but not a lot will be available after personnel costs.
"There's not a lot we can look at to prioritize after personnel costs," White said. "I hate to say it because it looks like a lot of money."
The school board also voted in a unanimous decision, 7-0, to raise the price of all school meals 25 cents. This was done to accommodate the rising price of food and salaries.
"Traditionally, we have had a decrease in meals at first, but that has picked up later in the year," White said.
The first order of business the board took Monday was to elect a new president. Broers was the only nomination and was voted in as board president, 7-0.
"I feel the same as being on the board any other time," Broers said. "I'm just another voting member, just like anyone else. I have one vote and so does everyone else."
After Broers was voted in, Board Member Alison Bauer was chosen to serve as the vice president with a 7-0 vote.
This meeting was also the first for new board members Ruth Barkley and Bill Busby.
The board also discussed the possibility of a community survey, which might be done over the telephone. Board Member Ande Parks is leading the charge for the survey, with support from the other members.
"This survey can be used in two ways," Parks said. "We can use it to gather information that's valuable and then use the information to serve our students the best we can."
Broers said the survey is long overdue.
"I think it is something that has been needed for some time," Broers said. "I hope that it will open up communication with our patrons and make them realize that we want their input."
Bauer thought the best way to get quality information was to inform the public before it happens.
"If you let people know this is coming, they have time to prepare their answers and let them know we are going to ask this and that," Bauer said.
One of the problems with the survey might be that many people don't want to take the time to answer questions. For this reason, the board discussed ways to ask less questions.
"People don't have the patience to talk on the telephone very long," Busby said. "So, we need to narrow our questions down to what we want to find out."
After the board exited executive sesssion, it approved several hirings. Marion Spring Elementary School Principal was named the Baldwin High School head soccer coach. BHS teacher Bob Martin was named head girls' basketball coach at BHS. Brad Qualls was chosen to be the assistant football and track coach at BHS. Megan Pudliner was named BHS assistant volleyball coach.
The BHS fall musical director is Josh Abel. The other two hirings were Carol Wright for Baldwin Elementary School Reading Resource Room Certified Para and Tami Broyles as the MSES custodian.
The school board will next meet at 7 p.m. July 28 at the District Office. This meeting will include further budget discussion and other topics.

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