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Ava R-1 Makes Difficult Decisions –– Adopts 2012-13 Budget

By Sue Curry Jones

Ava R-I School board members adopted final budget figures for the upcoming 2012-13 school term last Thursday.  As predicted by Dr. Brian Wilson, superintendent, the 2012-13 financial plan offers little flexibility for upgrades, or wiggle room for changes during the school year.  Nonetheless, decisions were quickly determined last Thursday as the board had previously examined and discussed options via a special session called on Monday, June 18.

The board voted 7-0 to freeze vertical and horizontal movement on the career ladder salary schedule, except for the expense of teacher tutoring.  Wilson noted, however, program expenditures transpire in arrears, therefore some payouts may still appear on the budget schedule.

In conjunction, the board also voted 7-0 to maintain the district’s current contribution to employee health insurance premiums, freezing their support level.  According to the information provided, the monthly premium amount for each employee next year will increase by $34.49, moving the individual assessment from $345.38 to $379.87.  Under the freeze, each participating employee will pay the added cost.  Motions to restrict the contribution amount were given by Johnny Burkdoll and Marsha Aborn.

Budget totals adopted for 2012-13 show revenues of $12,264,039.19 and expenditures of $12,602,017.60.

In comparison, the 2011-12 revenues were $12,025,265.82, with expenditures of $12,806,775.39. However, according to Supt. Wilson fiscal year 2012 does not reflect the Bears Den grant of $500,000, which was received in October 2011.

With the conclusion of the budget process, board member Ron Wallace expressed his concern to teachers and staff attending the meeting with the comment “this budget process was a humbling experience. In my opinion, no value should be placed on what you do for our students.”

Board member Pat Henry asked if the board will have the authority to bridge the gap and advance salaries and benefits when budget balances increase.   Dr. Wilson confirmed any adjustment or “jump” in scale is at the discretion of the board.

Board member Larry Silvey asked if the board still has the latitude to re-evaluate sick leave/personal day policies to provide more flexibility. Silvey said the board had discussed changes, but nothing was finalized.  In response, Wilson advised that the topic may be placed on the agenda as an item for consideration during the July meeting.

In a 7-0 vote, the board opted to increase lunch fees for the 2012-13 school year by adding an additional ten-cents to the cost of a full price meal.  Supt. Wilson noted the increase was reached by using a standard formula that determines fees; however, Ava R-1 is required to implement the rate increase due to the Federal ‘Hunger-Free Kids Act’ bill.  The bill, which was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 13, 2010, stipulates schools must follow U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines and implement certain nutritional offerings. The legislation also authorizes funding and sets policy for the 
USDA’s core child nutrition programs.

The breakfast and lunch price list for 2012-13 is as follows:

Elementary school students:

Breakfast            Lunch

Reduced   $  .30              $  .40

Full price  $1.00             $1.45

Middle/high school students:

Breakfast               Lunch

Reduced    $ .30              $  .40

Full price  $1.00             $1.60

Adults

Breakfast               Lunch

$ 1.50             $ 2.10

Also, the price for purchasing an extra carton of milk was raised five-cents, increasing the per carton cost from 30¢ to 35¢.

Motions to increase lunch and milk fees were made by Johnny Burkdoll and Marsha Aborn.

Motions to balance revenue streams and ex­penditures for the 2011-12 school year were made by Ron Wallace and Marsha Aborn. The transfers needed to close-out the 2011-12 budget were attributed to changes in the following categories: Federal programs; actual salaries paid to teachers for the year; 21st Century Grant; OPAA food services contract; and new lights installed at the football field.  The vote was 7-0.

The board spotlight recognized the staff of the Douglas County Herald for their contribution to students and publicizing school news and sporting events throughout each school year.  The board also recognized sponsors of Caring Kids, Julie Taylor and Airin Roberts, for coordinating opportunities for students to interact with community centers and organizations.  Both groups re­ceived a certificate of appreciation from Randy Spurlock, school board president.

During closed, supervision of the school’s Quiz Bowl group was given to Airin Roberts and Becky O’Dell, who will share the task of overseeing the team.

It has also been announced that B.J. Sterling will move into the administrative secretarial position previously held by Beverly Johnson. Johnson plans to retire the end of July.

David Williams, director of the Bears Den program, announced Ava has received the National Archery Program grant for the ensuing year, and teacher training is planned for Friday, Aug. 10.   In his report, it was noted 876 students attended at least one session of Bears Den during the school year. Ava has a total of 1,283 students.

Maintenance supervisor Monty Valentine reports crews working in each building are off to a good start cleaning and waxing floors, and painting elementary hallways.  The parking lots have also been sealed and striped.

In the elementary, Principal Diane Premer noted summer school students were able to visit a number of community locations during the term.  Students visited the Art Guild, Douglas County Library, Spring Fox Trotter Show, and Jump Around in Seymour.

Summer school enrollment was 178 students.

Middle school principal Cody Hirschi reports staff members Kelly Eggleston, Kristi Vinson, Kim Davis, Brandy Harvill and Mike Henry will attend the MMGW (Making Middle Grades Work) conference in New Orleans during July.

In the high school, academic students the month of May were Seth Maples and Payton Lakey.  Summer school course offerings included English, Math, personal finance, alternative school, lifetime sports and weightlifting.  Enrollment was 133 students.

The 2012-13 driver contracts were adopted without increases. Ron Wallace and Johnny Burkdoll gave motions and the vote was 7-0.

The board approved payment of bills totaling $187,543.18.

Board members attending the meeting were Ron Wallace, Johnny Burkdoll, Regina Porter, Randy Spurlock, Pat Henry, Marsha Aborn and Larry Silvey.

The next regular meeting of the board was re-scheduled to Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

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