Friday, December 19, 2014
   
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School district’s financial situation looking better

What appeared months ago to be a dire financial situation for the Brady school district is looking better all the time.

During their regular monthly meeting Monday night, school board members reviewed cash balances, initial state aid projections and property valuation numbers that have yet to be certified.

All appear to be good news at this point.

With a couple of months left in the budget year, the district has a cash balance of nearly $562,000 and is under budget by approximately $61,000.

“We are gaining,” said superintendent Bill Porter.

Comparisons to the previous two budget years show the district is in better financial shape.

“I looked back at the balance in June for the past two years,” said board president Lisa Diehl. “We have substantially more cash on hand now.”

Porter said work continues on the 2011-12 budget but certified property valuation is necessary to finalize the numbers.

The district will receive $325,574 in state aid for the 2011-12 school year, Porter said. That’s slightly more than the amount projected a month ago.

Of that aid total, Porter said $97,500 comes from having small elementary class sizes, $110,000 is for option enrollment funding and $53,000 is added for instructional time above the state average.

Last school year, elementary students were in attendance 155.02 days or 1,209.16 hours while junior high and high school students were in class 156.02 days or 1,216.96 hours.

The minimum state requirement is 1,032 hours. Porter said, with a state average of 1,100 hours.

“You can see how important it is for our students to be in class,” he said, “and you can see how vital our option students are.”

Earlier this spring school board members voted to cut classes from five academic programs in anticipation of a drastic reduction in state aid dollars.

Courses were cut from music, art, physical education, industrial tech and family and consumer science programs.

After LB235 was adopted by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Dave Heineman in late April, board members were confident there would be enough funding to reinstate the classes.

The district will officially adopt the budget for the 2011-12 school year in September.

In other business, school board members:

learned the school foundation board has elected officers. Pat Hoaglund will serve as chairman with Marge Spencer as vice chairman and Bob Golter as secretary. The foundation board is hoping to take over a previously used village foundation rather than starting from scratch but details have not been worked out.

received information about credit card fraud against a school account. Someone in New York made a copy of the district’s Wells Fargo credit card and fraudulently made 12 purchases totaling $236. The district will not be responsible for the charges and has been issued a new card.

heard three students have been hired for summer maintenance help rather than using one person as has been done in the past. They will each work approximately 130 hours and receive $1,000 apiece.

was told an appraisal will be done on the south campus building in preparation for its sale.

received an update on the food service program which shows it is approximately $8,000 over budget because of food costs and yet maintains a cash balance of more than $5,800. Porter said more students are eating in the cafeteria which increases the cost of food. The board will consider raising lunch prices during the July meeting.

reviewed building plans from the 2006 bond issue construction which included replacement of windows in the old part of the school. Porter said that portion of the project was removed to save money but architect firm Hewgley & Associates of North Platte retained the original plan.

School board members encouraged Porter to seek plans for window replacement and bids from other architects as well.

discussed the possibility of offering SmartBoard training to teachers over the summer rather than scheduling an in-service during the school year. SmartBoards have been installed in many classrooms but several teachers have expressed a need for additional training.

accepted letters of resignation from fifth-grade teacher Dawn Jobman and 7-12 special education teacher Kristi Bartlett. The board also approved contracts for Angela Johnson to teach fifth grade while Michelle Young will take over the special education classes.

approved on first reading changes to board policies to make the length of the school day match previously approved hours and update projections for option enrollment students.

authorized the purchase of two Mobi interactive whiteboard systems and 32 clickers at a cost of $4,903 at the request of second-grade teacher Bridget Rossman and third-grade teacher Tonja Shaw.

agreed to sign a new copier lease and service contract with Eakes Office Plus that will add one copier for a total of five machines. The monthly fee of $584 is $130 less than the previous four-year contract.

discussed during closed session continuing negotiations with the Brady Education Association for 2011-12 contracts.

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