Baldwin USD 348 board gets early review of capital outlay budget
As the 2012-2013 budget season nears, the Baldwin school board reviewed Monday a draft five-year capital improvement plan that would set next year’s capital outlay budget at 8 mills.
Superintendent Paul Dorathy explained the plan was presented before the board starts work next month on the 2012-2013 budget so it had time to adjust the proposal. The board could choose to reduce the capital outlay mill levy before approving the district’s budget for publication next month or in August when budget will be up for final approval, he said.
Last year, the board agreed to reduce the capital outlay fund in August. The decision reduced the fund’s mill levy from the published 5.5 mills to 5 mills.
In the draft presented, capital outlay fund expenditures would total $860,000 and require 8 mills of property tax support. Big-ticket items include $180,000 for bus replacement, $130,000 for new computers, $70,000 to repave the bus barn parking lot and $50,000 to replace a sewer line under the Baldwin Junior High School’s west hallway. District financial operations director Cynde Frick said the bus replacement cost was high because in tight budget years, past boards put off bus replacement.
Dorathy invited the board to study the plan before the July meeting. Should the board opt for 7 mills of support for capital outlay, it was proposed the bus barn parking lot resurfacing be postponed. At 6 mills, it was suggested high school locker replacement, Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center tree removal and purchase of a new maintenance truck be put off and carpet replacement cut back.
Drawing the most comment from board members was $15,000 for purchase of iPads for Baldwin High School faculty for the coming school year. It is the first step to providing all students in the high school iPads for the 2013-2014 school year.
Board member Sandy Chapman worried there would be associated expenses with the iPads’ introduction not accounted for, such as IT support and repairs. She also questioned how useful iPads would be in science and math classes, rather than the literature course in which they were used in the pilot program.
“I think it’s a great idea, but we may have to have support and infrastructure help,” she said.
Board member Ruth Barkley questioned how widespread the support is among high school faculty for the program.
Baldwin High School Principal Rob McKim and Dorathy said some high school teachers were leery, but they reminded the board next year’s commitment was to purchase only iPads for teachers. That would give teachers a year to become familiar with the devices and their use in the classroom, they said.
The coming year also would allow the school to further test policies and procedures successfully tested in the pilot program, Dorathy said.
“We have insurance, tracking devices and filtering that keeps kids off certain Web site even when they take the iPads home,” he said. “Does that mean no kid will never lose their iPad? We know better than that. But we really haven’t had any problems.”
In other business, the board:
• Agreed to enter into a five-year utility-management agreement with 360 Energy of Eudora. The company will make upfront energy conservation improvements at district facilities, such as new heating and air conditioning controls, for half of the money the district saves on utility bills the next five years.
• Approved a revised 2011-2012 budget reflecting $40,000 the district received in federal funding.
• Awarded the district’s 2012-2013 milk contract to Anderson Erikson for $36,890.