- Cassia County School District 151
School Board meeting
Board Meeting Update 6/18/2020
Chris James, fiscal manager presented a very comprehensive budget review and preview. Materials can be accessed on Board Docs and are worth some time. School budgeting is very complex and is the basis of every operational aspect of the district.
1- Reviewed the budget for 2019-2020 and upcoming year 2020-2021 for adoption
2- The general fund balance represents a change of ½% when all things are considered (holdbacks, reductions, actual expenditures)
3- $13-17 million more has been added to salaries since 2014 (career ladder)
4- Expenditures are listed by student per school now
5- Corrections have been made from the 2018 overall budget shortages and we are on track with the ’19-’20 and ’20-’21 budgets
6- We have applied for the CARES Act stimulus money, $728K
7- We are planning and budgeting with an expected drop in enrollment
8- Some items of the recent supplemental levy will be put on hold until enrollment numbers come in this fall
9- The amended budget for 2019-2020 was approved at $57,333,477
10- The proposed budget for 2020-2021 was approved at $ 55,880,893. A reduction of 2.53%. Considering the state’s holdback of 5% for the upcoming year, this reduction looks very good.
Editor’s note: In light of our current circumstances and the enormity of the unknown, this budget information represents thoughtful and prudent leadership.
The following was discussed:
- Discussion started regarding the pros and cons of maintaining a fleet of district cars versus outsourcing that management. Early benefits would take in stabilizing costs, certainty around budgeting, warranty, maintenance and selling vehicles with equity. Next steps are to continue to discuss potential.
- Curtis Richins asked the Board to allow an expansion of a driveway at the tech center. This will provide drive through access for vehicles in programs. The driveway costs will come from tech funds.
- Reopening was discussed. Districts can expect some guidance coming from the state in the following areas: emphasis on local governance, roles/responsibilities/authority in decision making, a decision tree for response and a repository for operational resources. Dr. Shank reiterated: “the goal is to have school.” The Board wants as much normalcy as can be achieved right now. Communication will be critical for the community. Assessing academic and emotional needs of returning students will be crucial. There was some talk about thermometers and the taking of temperatures. Many of the current and soon to be instituted cleaning protocols were shared. There will be more to come as a reopening team will be discussing logistics in the coming weeks. No protocols, requirements, etc were established. This is a developing situation.
- Mrs. Miller shared continued conversations about Cassia Online. A group is working to stand up an online school that would be staffed by local teachers and would include the ability to make appointments with teachers in labs. The goal is to have this up and running by fall.
There are many staff openings and unfilled positions around the district. I counted more than 20.
A review of the May 16 and June 20, 2019 board actions were discussed. These motions pertained to the status of Almo elementary. Both motions directed the closure of the school based on enrollment below 17 students. Enrollment for the coming year is projected at 8-9 students. It was the recommendation of Dr. Shank to reaffirm last year’s action based on the low enrollment. Later in the meeting the Board discussed the issue and voted to temporarily close the school. Mr. James shared information that many cuts were made around the district, consolidation of positions and other decisions. Overall budgeting decisions were not on the backs of the Almo decisions. Trustee Moon shared the challenge of taking these kinds of actions and that being a board member requires difficult decisions. Trustee Loughmiller shared his conversations in Almo, including the fact that 3 of the 5 families with students at the school agreed with the recommended the closure.
Board approved the negotiated contract worked through with the CCEA. Dr Shank thanked the association for their efforts and highlighted the positive nature of the process. Trustee Moon also commented with appreciation for those involved.
A motion was made to lift the prohibition of face to face instruction for extended school year services and driver’s training due to the state’s move to stage 4.
4 policy changes were made. Three of which were simply moved to a new section in the handbook to better suit subject matter. The fourth policy dealt with FERPA and student records. Dr. Shank commented that there were some changes but nothing that diminished the protections.