A busy Thursday evening. First, a SOS meeting to continue the discussion on moving the District forward and the open director’s chair. A discussion on the 2013 elections also was started, which resulted in at least two questions that must be and will be addressed to the Board President. Then down the road to the School Board Working Meeting. The agenda was full of issues that required considerable discussion and there was discussions. Here is my impressions/opinions of the meeting.
1. Board Retreat with Randy Black CASB–postponed and will be tabled until a later date. There needed to be more discussion as to what needed to be discussed with Mr Black.
2. Book Study “Failure Is Not An Option”–chapters 3&4 will be discussed at the next Board Meeting.
3. September 13 Board Work Session–
·Re-visit Goals 9-13-12–Dr Cullen presented the Board with a suggested list of District Goals. The discussion was lengthy and positive. All Board members agreed that the District owes its’ students and citizens, goals. Dr Cullen pointed out that the goals have to emphasize student achievement, Board agreed. I will request a copy of the proposed goals and post.
My opinion: I believe the discussion confused the District’s goals and the Superintendent’s goals. The Board is like a Business’s Board of Directors in that the Board establishes broad and general goals. Goals also must have established timelines and ways of measuring. The District’s goals serve many purposes, 1: being a way to measure their success or failure, 2: a way to measure the Superintendent’s success. The discussion and list in my opinion confused the two. Mr Chambers lead the discussion toward measurements and timelines but the decision was to take the week to review.
4. Budget concerns
·Most current audit–
·Ending Fund Balance $565,000 X 6 = $3,390,000–the discussion returned to HOW much is enough in the Reserve funds. A number of bottom lines was placed on the table Mrs Twiss, Mr. Chambers and Mr Hobbs again were leaning toward maintaining 6 months worth (3.4M). Dr Cullen no less than 4 months and Mr. Hudson again felt (my opinion) that there was not a need to maintain this “large amount”. He felt that the District should spend now and replace later. The State auditor suggested 6-12 months of monthly expenditures in reserve. Dr Cullen referenced the Law Suit facing District 11 as a unknown budget expense.
Projected revenue for 2012-13 (6-31-12)–Discussion centered on State education funding and student attendance numbers. The administration sees a possibility for State Funding again being reduced but no confirmed numbers. State funding is an unknown until the check arrives. The position was to plan as if there will be little to no change.
·Projected expenses for 2012-13(6-13-12)–Discussion centered on options for funding some items with grants and community assistance. Concerns about the increasing cost of benefits and the reduction of state funding. The suggestion by Dr Cullen was that the priority of the District should be funding of additional teachers to insure student success. It appeared that all the Board agreed.
·Budget worksheet 2012-13–a worksheet was passed out and I will try to get a copy and post it.
·CDE Budget Revenue sheet
·October 1, 2012 figures
·Benefits–cost is going up, health care and retirement funding issue also. Mrs Twiss stated that she had seen a copy of the medical contract and suggested that all individuals discussing retirement read the fine print.
Funding Additional Staff–I still have issues in the fact that money is being spent without the Board addressing the expenditures and adjusting the line item budget. Last night Dr. Cullen and Mr. Hudson discussed a figure of $370,000 being taken from the Reserve fund this year. The President again did not know whether the reserve fund was to be 3 month, 4 months or 6 months or whether the board had even made a decision. Issue for thought: if we had to take 370K from the reserve fund this year and we think the funding will be the same or less for 2013-2014, where will the money coming from to pay the new teachers new year, Reserve Account?
·Three additional Classroom teachers (Budgeted)–this was the agreement between the Board and the Principles back in Jun before Dr. Cullen. But the sheets provided shows one each; Language Arts MS, 2nd grade teacher, Math HS, Math MS and Language Arts HS. This appears to be 5 new positions.
·Interventionist (Replaced two paras)–partially funded by not hiring two paras, where is the other partially funding coming from?
·Two additional special education teachers–unfunded but needed
·ELL–unfunded but needed
5. Needs List–this is a list requested by the board of items that the administration would like or need. Again there was a list provided to the Board and I’ll also request a copy. Here are a few items discussed: baseball field repair, football field lights, sound system for the gym, district message board, high school landscaping, a grant writer, IT upgrades, white/smart boards, business software, roof on the bus barn. There was again comments, “we should just do it”. Budget, Budget. There was also discussions as to other methods of funding; grants, community donations, PTA, Booster Club, Local Businesses.
6. Board Policies–Dr. Cullen mentioned that the policies required review and must be done annually. Many policies have not been updated in years. CASB are currently reviewing our policies.
·Leave Policy–Concerns over the amount of days and purposes individuals are using the “personal days” for. Dr. Cullen and others feel more student time is needed. Discussions again about increasing the school term. Farther discussion will be delayed to next year.
7. Middle Building Project–The following are dates to discussed the new school.
·DAG Meeting 10-25-12
·Town Hall Meeting 10-30-12
8. Informational Items
·CASB Regional Meeting–Most board members will attend the annual conference.
·Astroturf–Dr. Cullen asked about the old Astroturf that has been stored at the District for years. Some looked surprised and with farther discussion it was decided it was the Astroturf that Mr. Ebert tried to sell last year. Board gave Dr. Cullen approval to dispose of it.
·Ipad program–Dr. Cullen discussed an offer by some business persons to donate one Ipad for every four the District obtained. Dr. Cullen suggested the staff research possibilities of funding. The third grade was recommended to be the first to receive.
·Transportation–Dr Cullen requested permission to redo the bus drop off and pickup location. There will be a two-three week test.
·Veteran’s Day–The annual Veteran’s Day will be conducted date to follow.
Final remarks, I am still concerned that the Board President isn’t addressing the spending and what appears to be a failure to amend the budget to correctly display the expenditures of the District. As discussed 370,000 dollar not budgeted and taken from the Reserve Funds. Not saying the teacher positions aren’t need but the budget is incorrect and needs to be update and the Board’s approval.
Also I believe the Board needs to increase the amount of information provided to the public. My example: last night’s working section, there was a large amount of new discussion items but the citizen had no opportunity to provide any input to our board members. They also don’t allow public input at the working sections. The Board talks about openness and public input; but when? They discussed and then make it an action item to be voted on. The public needs to understand what the board is doing and time to provide input.
Integrity in Leadership