HOWARD — District finances were discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the East Knox Board of Education. Treasurer Jessi Busenburg told the News on Thursday she explained the present uncertainty regarding state financial support of schools, and outlined difference between regular state school funds and stimulus dollars. She said stimulus dollars are a one-time revenue source, and probably will not be made up by the state in the next biennial budget. She added that means the district will receive at least $279,000 less next year. That is on top of a 1 percent decrease in state funding last year and a 2 percent decrease this year.
“Even with all the reductions we have made,” she said, “the financial forecast indicates we will be spending more than we take in this year to the tune of roughly $581,000. Without new revenue, by fiscal year 2012, our cash balance will be depleted.”
Superintendent Matt Caputo announced the district will receive $168,000 in education jobs funds from the federal government. The money is restricted and cannot just go into the general fund. The purpose of the money is to provide educational support for students, and the U.S. Department of Education specifies which positions may be funded with those one-time dollars.
“We will be working to best decide when and where these resources will be allocated,” said Caputo. “We will have a better picture of where we stand financially after the November levy and after the state budge reductions are finalized.”
Regarding personnel, Caputo commended maintenance personnel for making all the upgrades required by the State Fire Marshal. “We had our final inspection last week,” Caputo said, “and passed.” Caputo also complimented the special education staff and Corby Frere for the district being found compliant in review areas in the 2010 special education determination.
Other personnel actions taken by the board included granting of custodian Willard Thompson’s retirement request, effective Jan. 1. Thompson has served the district since 1976. The following individuals were advanced on the salary schedule due to completion of requirements: Middle school physical education teacher Elizabeth Clark, high school science teacher Amy Rine, fourth-grade teacher Holly Ross, fifth-grade teacher Keri Deskins, third-grade teacher Judith Gawelek and high school tutor Calvin Hatfield. The board approved Stacie Bross as a girls basketball volunteer and issued a supplemental contract to school psychologist Danielle McKown to serve as Title I grant coordinator in addition to her regular duties. The extra stipend will be paid through grant money. Christina Barnard was awarded a $150 extra-service stipend for monitoring on-line classes.
Besides approving routine fiscal actions, the board accepted the donation of concrete from Small’s Inc. for the outdoor classroom. It also authorized the purchase from Autobrokers Inc. of a 2002 Ford F-250 pickup with plow and salt spreader. Busenburg said the truck was purchased with permanent improvement funds and will be used by district staff to plow driveways rather than the district contracting with an outside snow removal service. The board also approved the services of Ed FOCUS for professional development support and consultation. Caputo said those professional development services will help the district implement its mandated Ohio Improvement Process goals at the building level.
Caputo said the district has received training materials and professional development from New Directions to implement the Second Step program at the elementary school. The program focuses on social skills instruction and problem solving.
In other action, the board approved the overnight trip to Indianapolis for FFA members to attend the national convention. The only cost to the board will be transportation costs which will be paid with career-technical education funds from the state.
The next community conversations will be held in Bladensburg on Thursday, Oct. 21, in the elementary library. Times are 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The middle school library will be the site for the Oct. 27 conversations, again at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.