Archive for Thursday, December 14, 2006

District survives lean times

December 14, 2006

Thanks to its Capital Outlay Bond that passed a protest period in October, the Baldwin School District will have enough money to get through 2006.

Supt. Paul Dorathy informed the Baldwin Board of Education of this news at its meeting Monday night. He said the cash balances are low, but the district will survive the next month, until new tax money comes in.

"It's really tight," Dorathy said Tuesday. "I won't say it's going well. We've just got enough money to get by. As I've told people, we've kept the doors open, the lights are on, the buses are running and we're having school."

The school district will be receiving a large sum of money Jan. 20 from local taxes. In order to pay bills before then, the district will also receive part of that money later in the month.

"What we'll get in January are the county taxes," Dorathy said. "None of that will be general fund money. We will get some local option and capital outlay money. We'll get the first half of that money on Jan. 20. We do get a 10 percent advance on the money on Dec. 20. Douglas County does that. That 10 percent is what I have figured will help us get to the end of the month."

In October, the school board unanimously approved bonding against the Capital Outlay for $386,000, which eased the cash crunch. The money was going to help the school district that discovered it had a $300,000 shortfall in August when Dorathy asked for a thorough audit to be done shortly after he took over the job from former Supt. James White.

According to Dorathy, the new funds put money back into the general fund, because it paid for several capital projects that were being paid for out of the general fund.

"We took the new money and the only thing we can spend it on is capital projects," Dorathy said. "We can't spend it for salaries or that kind of thing. What we did was just bookkeeping. It puts money back into general fund, so we have money to pay our salaries coming up."

After the financial report was given, the school board went through most of the agenda fairly quickly. After listening to the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center student council's presentation on building an outdoor shelter area near the school, the board voted 6-0 to give $1,000 for the project.

BESIC Principal Tom Mundinger said the shelter would be similar to the one at the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center.

"I think it's wonderful," Board President Alison Bauer said of the plan. "I think the kids have worked really hard planning it and they've worked really hard earning money for it. I think it's going to be wonderful and we are glad to support them in that project."

At the meeting, Dorathy said he reviewed the budget and thought the board might want to approve $1,000 for each building, so that each school would have the funds for a project such as this one.

The school board also approved Dorathy's suggestion. Board Member Scott Lauridsen wasn't present at the meeting.

In other action Monday night, the board unanimously approved Mark Eldridge to the Baldwin Education Foundation Board of Directors.

The school board also received a list of course considerations from Baldwin High School Principal Shaun Moseman.

There were 19 classes on the list, some of which were simply name changes to be aligned with the state. Moseman asked the board to make a decision at its Jan. 8 meeting, because the classes needed to be in the BHS course catalogue.

He also said the new courses could be added with the current BHS staff, but the changes might affect some teachers' schedules.

"Adding classes affects everybody," Moseman said. "We're not sure how, but it will affect people. That's why we had all of the department heads together in a meeting."

Three BHS teachers were at the meeting to explain their reasons for the changes or additions. They were Charles Holvoet (language arts), Mike Curran (math) and Jim Hartman (science).

The reasons ranged from wanting additional classes in a certain area to being in line with the state standard names to challenging the upper level students.

The school board took the list and will be deciding on those courses at its Jan. 8 meeting.

After a brief executive session, the board approved the personnel report. It included the hiring of Justin Hoffman (BHS boys' tennis coach) and Brock Hartshorn (BHS baseball coach).

The resignations were Anita Faddis (food service director and Baldwin Junior High School teacher), Carolyn Davolt (BESPC food service), Matt McCune (BHS assistant soccer coach) and Helen Gesink (BESPC second grade teacher).

The school board will next meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the District Office.

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