TONASKET – Trisha Schock, External Business Manager for Tonasket School District through North Central Educational Services District presented a first reading of the 2015-16 budget to the Tonasket School Board Monday, July 27.
The budget is at $13,942,809.00 and includes General Fund Expenditures of $13,435,460 with total revenues and other financing sources for the General Fund at $13,443,362. Associated Student Body Fund expenditures are budgeted at $247,349, with total revenues and other financing sources for the Associated Student Body Fund at $218,125.
There is $260,000 allocated to the Transportation Vehicle Fund. Two buses will be purchased at a cost of around $115,000 each.
There is no money budgeted for Debt Service Fund or Capital Projects Fund.
The beginning total fund balance is $700,000 for the General Fund, leaving it with a $707,902 ending total fund balance; and $160,000 for the Associated Student Body Fund, leaving it with a $130,776 balance.
The Debt Service Fund has expected revenue of $50 and a beginning total fund balance of $21,500; leaving it at $21,550. The Capital Improvements Fund has no revenue or expenditures budgeted, with the beginning and ending total fund balance at $0.
The 2015-16 budget reflects an expected enrollment of 1,082 full-time equivalent (FTE) students in grades kindergarten through 12. This is an increase over last year’s 1,050 students budgeted for, and the actual average number of 1,074.35 students in 2013-14.
Students budgeted in Alternative Learning Education (ALE) show a decrease from 73.69 budgeted in 2014-15 to 59 for the upcoming school year. Actual average number of ALE students enrolled in 2013-2014 was 75.32.
Revenues budgeted to the General Fund from Federal Special Purpose funds are at $1,252,232; an increase over last year’s $1,168,401. State Special Purpose funds are budgeted at $1,955,917 over last year’s $1,949,774. State General Purpose funds are budgeted at $7,481,439; an increase over last year’s $6,546,130. Local Support Non-tax is at $1,018,461 compared to last year’s $706,345. Local taxes budgeted are at $1,604,300; last year was $1,388,894.
The school board passed the resolution to adopt the budget as presented, with the understanding Schock and Superintendent Steve McCullough will be spending some time finalizing the budget.
McCullough expressed appreciation for Schock’s ability to get the budget completed on time, requiring extra efforts considering the delay of the state legislature passing their budget. He also commended her taking the time to review the budgets of other districts in the area.
School Board member Catherine Stangland pointed out there were still some items not yet funded that were being considered for inclusion in the budget, such as early education for Birth to Age 5 and the possibility of hiring a communications director to handle the school’s website. Schock said there were no funds yet allocated to the school garden.
“I think you are doing a fantastic job,” School Board Member Ty Olson said to Schock. “We have seen a major turnaround since we met you. Our district is doing a lot better now.”
“Well, it’s not all me,” said Schock. “It’s a reflection of the district doing a lot of hard work also, with administrators taking a hard look at what they are spending and why.”
Schock said over the past year, total cash has increased by over $300,000; an increase of about 40%.
Following the budget hearing lasting almost an hour, the regular meeting of the school board was called to order. The consent agenda was approved, which included the hiring of the following individuals: Meghan Grillo as a third grade teacher, Evelia Zabreznik as a preschool teacher, Cicely Amato as a SPED Resource Room Life Skill Paraeducator, Johnna Sutton as an assistant high School volleyball coach, Robbie Monroe as a seventh grade volleyball coach and Clint Duchow as a high school assistant football coach.
The board also accepted the resignation of assistant high school softball coach Breanne Hanson.
Audience member Rob Enloe addressed the board with concerns about the number of teachers leaving the district this past spring. Enloe asked if board members had any conversations with the leaving faculty, and was told no; that communication from resigning staff members was “supposed to come up the chain of command.”
“Well, it seems that it should be on the board members shoulders to quiz them as to why they are leaving,” said Enloe. “You aren’t going to get the comments up the chain of command if there is any weak link in that chain. And the person leaving might not want to jeopardize any future references by pointing it out. It seems like it should be on the board to pull that person aside from all those other influences and quiz them as to why they are leaving.”
In other business, the board approved a request from the superintendent to continue to receive bids for an asphalt resurfacing project. McCullough said he was looking at possibly chip coating it instead of resealing it, as it is “not that much more expensive, but it will last twice as long.” The asphalt resurfacing project will be funded by transportation funds and income generated by the interagency fire camps rental fees. A fire camp set up at the middle school during the Newby Lake Fire Camp generated about $35,000 paid by the USFS.
The board approved an increase in administrator salary that will be funded by the 3% COLA from the state and through basic education funds, but McCullough said the administrative salary schedule is still in the development stage.
“This is another one of those projects I picked up half-way through; so I would like to spend some more time looking at this before I propose something other than just the 3% cost of living increase approved by COLA,” said McCullough.
The board approved a $75 per month technology fund to cover the superintendent’s cell phone, and approved the renewal of the school’s food service contract with Chartwells.
The board approved first readings of updates to policies number 6022, relating to minimum fund balances; and 6210 relating to bid limits. McCullough suggeseted increasing the minimum fund balance from 5% to 7%. He said he was suggesting 7% as an amount to cover one month’s payroll and expenses. Stangland pointed out that 7% would be about $500 shy of covering this months expenses of $1.1million, and proposed an amount higher than 7%.
Regarding bid limits, McCullough proposed giving the superintendent more flexibility in making purchases for the district. Right now, the superintendent is required to get approval from the school board for any purchase costing more than $15,000. Board member Jerry Asmussen suggested increasing it to $40,000.
McCullough initiated the opportunity for board members to discuss what would be included in future work sessions. It was decided work sessions in the near future should include continuing to work on protocols, the bond and levy timeline and evaluations.
The next regular board meeting has been changed from August 24 to August 31.