Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2007

April ‘08 suggested for bond issue

March 15, 2007

Supt. Paul Dorathy updated the Baldwin School Board on the district's financial situation, next year's budget and a possible new timeline for a bond issue at Monday's meeting.

Dorathy and Kevin Greischer, architect with the DLR Group, have spoken several times recently about facilities and the upcoming bond issue.

"We kind of talked about a tentative timeline for how we are going to get things done and accomplished," Dorathy said. "He wants us to form a citizens' group. It was a good meeting and a good start. We accomplished a few things and got ourselves started."

Monday Dorathy gave an update on the issue. He said Greischer suggested the board aim for April 2008 as a possible date for a bond issue vote.

The school board was looking at a November vote, but no date has been chosen yet.

"They just want to make sure that we analyze and study this completely," Dorathy said. "I think they were concerned that the November date that we tentatively looked at might be a little too quick. I think they are looking at a legitimate date of next spring sometime for an election, if we are ready."

Dorathy said he is still working on a contract with the DLR Group. He also said Greischer wants two board members on a community-wide facilities committee for the bond issue.

After a brief discussion, Board Members Ande Parks and Scott Lauridsen volunteered and were chosen as the board representatives for the committee. The first meeting for the group will be April 11.

The bond issue wasn't the only update that Dorathy gave. Early in the meeting, he gave the financial report.

The report included an update on the cash balances and the general fund, both of which are in the positive. It is the general fund that concerns Dorathy, because he knows the district must remain about zero for the remainder of the school year.

"We are hopeful that we are going to be able to stay positive," Dorathy said. "Right now, we are looking at our expenditures for the remainder of the year to see if we can stay positive. We may have to make some cuts, which is not much different than we've done all year."

At the end of the financial report, Dorathy began talking about the 2007-2008 budget. He has begun creating a budget committee, which would consist of a couple of board members, district staff members and maybe a few community members.

"This spring we are going to form a budget committee," Dorathy said. "We already have several volunteers that would serve on that committee. We are going to look at the budget from top to bottom and make some recommendations. Ultimately, the board will make the final decisions on the budget."

Board Members Ruth Barkley and Blaine Cone will be serving on the budget committee. That decision came Monday when Parks and Lauridsen were chosen for the facilities committee.

Later in the meeting Dorathy predicted the district would see an increase of approximately $250,000 next year, according to the information he received from the state legislature.

"That's some money to work with," Dorathy said. "When you look at expenses and raises for the number of employees we have, that starts spreading pretty thin."

The one concern for next year might be the special education coop budget. Baldwin, Eudora and Wellsville share the coop.

The Baldwin district saw a significant increase in its coop budget this year. Dorathy said the original projections saw an increase of $6,000 next year, but now Baldwin might see an increase of $40,000 next year.

"Our district can't afford that, period," Dorathy said. "We may have to eat that extra $34,000 or we may have to make some cuts."

Parks, who serves with Cone on the coop, said he couldn't explain the reason for such an increase, and neither can anyone else.

"I've said it before but nobody can explain to me how this formula works," Parks said. "These numbers seem to drift down from the sky."

Dorathy said he would continue working on next year's budget and try to figure out the special education coop budget a bit better.

In other news, the school board approved the policies that were updated by the policy committee, headed by Barkley.

"The policy committee has made a recommendation as to which of the two policies or blending of policies should be adopted as part of the USD 348 policy," Barkley said. "Now the policy committee will move forward and make sure it's all in uniform font and presentable."

The board also discussed having two meetings every month next year with a possible earlier start to the first meeting of the month. No decision was made but the idea will continue to be discussed.

Dorathy informed the board he would be having a security audit done next fall. He wants to find positive and negative aspects of the district's security in the buildings.

After executive session, the board approved the personnel report. The resignations on the report were for Mark Cation (Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center fourth Grade teacher), Julie Tharp (Baldwin High School chemistry and physics teacher), Amber Rhea (BHS cheerleading sponsor), Tom Wilson (BHS assistant volleyball coach) and Emily Johnson (BHS math teacher).

There were several hires also. They included Julie Henry (Baldwin Junior High School food service), Cynde Frick (District Office director of financial operations) and Laura Morford (District Office board clerk/freedom of information officer.

There were also several hires for spring coaches at BHS. They were Eric Black (assistant track coach), Joe Sample (assistant track coach), Kelly Brown (assistant softball coach), Jason Crowder (split head golf coach), Will Cooper, (split head golf coach), Curtis Murdock (assistant baseball coach) and Neal Hartshorn (assistant baseball coach).

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 9 at the District Office.

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