Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006

Brighter numbers for board

September 14, 2006

There were several items that were briefly discussed and approved in a quick manner at the Baldwin Board of Education meeting Monday night.

The school board took action on student fees and a Baldwin High School band proposal, while tabling the board vision and code of ethics Monday. Everything was taken care of by 9:20 p.m., which was enjoyed by the board members, who usually meet much later into the night, including one marathon meeting that lasted until 2 a.m.

"We are trying to have our meetings be brief," Board President Alison Bauer said. "When it gets late, we are not at our best. We are trying to get better and quicker."

The meeting started with a financial report from Supt. Paul Dorathy. After the new auditor found the district to be $300,000 in the red in early August, Dorathy decided to give the board a financial report every month.

He reported that the district has spent $361,470 less than last year at this time.

"It's cutting back on expenditures," Dorathy said. "We've cut out quite a bit and we needed to do that."

Dorathay also said the district will have approximately $20,000 remaining in cash until Oct. 1. He believes the district will have enough cash for the month of October, but will need another source of money for November and December.

Dorathy said he will be bringing options for the board to vote on at the October meeting.

"Then we will need to act as fast as possible to have it by November," Dorathy said. "

During the meeting, the board discussed fees for students who receive free or reduced lunches. The topic had been brought to the board two months ago, because those students were responsible for all fees.

The school board approved the new policy unanimously, which removed the paragraph that was added last year. It said, "eligibility for free or reduced meals does not release a student/family from paying other fees assessed by Baldwin USD 348 or any district school."

Bauer explained how that affects students in the district.

"We wanted to leave some latitude with those students who receive free or reduced meals," Bauer said. "We don't want anybody not to compete because of money."

Another approved item at the meeting was the BHS band proposal. Will Cooper, BHS band instructor, brought a field trip request to the board Monday night, which will be paid for by the BHS students.

The proposal would be a four-day trip to Chicago during late April. The band would be performing and visiting museums in Chicago. Cooper said they will be using the same company that has helped them go to Florida in previous years.

The board approved the field trip 5-0. Board Members Scott Lauridsen and Lonnie Broers were not at the meeting.

The school board also briefly discussed its vision and code of ethics. Dorathy asked the board in July to create a vision statement and adopt a code of ethics.

Bauer presented the board with several codes of ethics from other school boards around the country. She asked each board member to look at them and be ready to adopt one at the October meeting.

Near the end of the meeting, Dorathy reported the ACT scores for the district and state from last year. The average score for the district remained constant at 23.1, while the state average increased from 21.7 to 21.8.

"I am proud that Baldwin USD 348 is a couple percentage points above the state average," Bauer said. "I am happy with the scores. I hope we continue to improve."

After an executive session, the board approved the personnel report 5-0. On the list was the resignation of Baldwin Junior High School math teacher Richard Wohlgemuth.

The hires included Ron Sellars (District Office custodian), Raymond Dunn (Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center custodian) and Chelsea Wilson (Baldwin High School assistant cheerleading sponsor).

Other hires were Kathy Alstrin and Jennifer Stewart as Marion Springs Elementary School 4-year-old paraeducators, Donna Reed (Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center QPA co-chair), April Kohrs (BESIC QPA co-chair), Marilyn Fischer (BESIC QPA math chair), Carolyn Stansberry (BESIC QPA reading chair) and Jane Miller (BESIC student council sponsor).

The school board will next meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the District Office.

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