School board decides against new track
Several small items of discussion came up Monday night at the Baldwin Board of Education meeting, including track bids, student fees, facility agreement with Baker University and an activity fund.
After months of talking and planning, the school board decided to halt the proposed track facility near Baldwin High School. The main reason stemmed from the financial deficit that the district is currently in.
"Given our current situation, I think it would be irresponsible of us to go forward with this," Board Member Ruth Barkley said. "I agree with your (Supt. Paul Dorathy's) recommendation."
The board agreed that the proposed facility was not going to move forward.
"The timing is just bad," Board Member Lonnie Broers said. "We didn't know what our finances would be, but it's a definite need that we need to consider next year or the year after."
The other facility discussion Monday focused on the ball field work near Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center. Dorathy brought the idea up, which soon became discussion about a possible bond issue.
Board Member Scott Lauridsen wanted the board to begin discussing a timeline for a bond issue. But he was alone, as other board members thought this discussion should be held at a later time.
"I have a hard time in my heart asking the community for money for facilities, when we can't give our teachers raises," Board President Alison Bauer said. "I think we have their support right now and I don't want to lose that with a bond issue."
The board decided to gather the facilities committee again and begin talking about a possible bond issue down the road. No action on the ball fields was taken immediately.
Another item at the meeting was the creation of an activity fund at all six district schools, but primarily at Baldwin High School and Baldwin Junior High School.
"The activity fund was a recommendation by our auditor," Dorathy said. "This is in order to allow the schools an opportunity to pay for referees and those kinds of things that are almost on a daily basis. They need to have some authority out of their activity fund to write those checks."
Currently, one person at the district office handles all of the money that is for athletic officials and from gate receipts. Dorathy liked the idea of moving the money to the schools.
"I think logistically it is better for the buildings to be able to make those decisions and use the gate money that is produced by their ball games," Dorathy said. "Rather than those coming here and a central office person writing a check for every referee for every ball game."
The school board passed the resolution unanimously.
Because the activity funds are empty right now, Dorathy said the district was going to provide some funds to begin the season.
"They don't have any money to get going with that," Dorathy said. "We might give them a little bit of money so they can get started and pay the first few ball games. After that, they would be paying for it themselves at the building level."
Following that discussion, the board briefly discussed its athletic agreement with Baker University. Dorathy said the agreement was not finished, but he hopes it will be soon.
"I believe Baker is still working on the agreement," Dorathy said. "They haven't brought that to me yet. As soon as they have something together, I will present it to the board."
Another item that was tabled until the next regular meeting was student fees. At the last regular meeting, district patron Grace Schroer expressed her concern about students who receive free or reduced meals to pay certain fees.
The board said the policy states that all students must pay those fees, such as activity user and textbook fees. But some board members thought that should change.
"For the same reason you offer free and reduced lunches, we should offer free and reduced user fees," Lauridsen said. "I think with the small percentage of kids receiving those in our district, it won't affect our budget. I just don't want to see some kid not go out for an extracurricular activity, because they can't afford it. I would hate to see that."
The board asked Dorathy to talk to the building administrators about a possible solution.
"I am going to visit with the administrators and see if we can't work out a written policy that will best meet what I think the board wanted last night," Dorathy said Tuesday. "I think they want us to give those people who qualify for free or reduced lunches an opportunity to maybe have those fees waived. I need to sit down with the administrative team and discuss that."
The school board approved a propane and bread bid unanimously Monday night. The propane bid came from Neosho Valley Energy and the bread bid was from Sara Lee.
After executive session the board approved the personnel report 7-0. The list included Matt McCune (Vinland Elementary School third, fourth and fifth grade math), Chad Scoby (BJHS math teacher) and Ashley Strand (Marion Springs Elementary School second grade).
Others were Crysti Bettge (BHS assistant volleyball coach), Mandy Moore (BJHS assistant volleyball coach) and Mark Gastelum (BJHS assistant football coach), Lori Krysztof (Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center student council sponsor), Marcia O'Neil (Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center student council sponsor), Celia Boyne-Schuh (BESPC QPA building co-chair), Debbie Wallace (BESPC QPA building co-chair), Rhonda Hitchcock (BESPC QPA building committee chair) and Adriane Mercer (BESPC QPA math committee chair).
There were three transportation hirings also. They were Conrad Braun, Linda Smith and Michelle Gorden. The only resignation was for Blayne Leonard (MSES second grade).
The school board will be holding a special budget workshop for the 2006-2007 budget at 7 p.m. tonight at the District Office. The budget hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 27 at the District Office.