Preliminary information shows that Holyoke School District Re-1J has a little more revenue than planned when the preliminary budget was prepared in June.
At the Nov. 18 board meeting, Superintendent Bret Miles noted the school board has a few budget choices to make for the adoption of the 2014-15 budget at the Dec. 11 meeting.
The budget adopted in June assumed the district would be adding about $60,000 to the ending fund balance, and it did grow $61,265. Miles pointed out that this money was spent in July on employee bonuses, which the board decided to give because of the growth in fund balance.
Additionally, the June budget included using $60,000 of reserve to move the June 30, 2015, ending fund balance to just over $1.2 million.
With some changes between June and December, there are some budget choices to make. There are some increased costs that need to be accounted for, but after that, the fund balance could be reduced.
However, Miles explained that if it is still the intent to use the $60,000 from the reserve as revenue in this year, other district goals can be met.
By leaving the $60,000 of fund balance in the budget, the district can cover the increased payroll cost of $26,906 which came from personnel adjustments in the hiring of new teachers with more advanced degrees than the teachers that left the district.
Additionally, $7,398 can be added to the athletic budget, which is also payroll-related.
Thirdly, technology support could be added if the $60,000 remains in the budget. Miles said this would be a good time to add a second employee in the technology department, using some additional moneys, as well as the already budgeted tech secretary moneys.
Lastly, Miles said capital projects could be increased by $23,214.
In recommending that the $60,000 be used from the reserve as revenue, Miles said the district is already off to a good start with an increase with the governor’s proposed budget. He said most believe it is likely to get a little better.
Holyoke’s final October count also came in at 584.5 funded full-time equivalent, which is up a couple from the preliminary report in October and from what was used for budgeting.
In a full demographic report at last week’s meeting, Miles said demographics are very stable, with little change in the last two years.
Statistics report that 52 percent of the student population is white, 46 percent Hispanic and 2 percent other.
English Language Learners account for 24 percent of the student population districtwide. This includes 86 students or 26 percent at the elementary school and 58 students for 21 percent at the JR/SR high.
In the final demographic statistic, Miles noted that 47 percent of the districtwide student population is eligible for free or reduced meals. This includes 54 percent of the elementary students and 40 percent of the JR/SR high.
Adjustments made on Innovation District application
Updates on the latest drafts of the district’s Innovation District application were reviewed at last week’s board meeting, with some clarifications made.
Miles pointed out that while the district seeks a waiver from the provision of law from SB 191 requiring test scores to be included in teacher evaluation, it is not waiving the provision of law covering probationary status.
A legal opinion clarified that the district would still have the right to move a teacher from non-probationary status back to probationary status with two consecutive ineffective ratings.
The board approved the engagement for legal services with the Colorado Association of School Boards during the Innovation District application process.
Miles is scheduled to meet with the attorney in mid-December for what they hope will be a final draft.
Miles is candidate for BOCES executive director
BOCES board representative Jon King said the main topic for the BOCES board has been the replacement of executive director Tim Sanger, who announced in September that he will retire at the end of his current contract, June 30, 2015.
Miles was interviewed by the BOCES board executive committee Nov. 5, and King said they would be recommending Miles for the position for a full board vote at the Nov. 24 BOCES board meeting.
The BOCES board meeting on Nov. 24 will be followed by a retreat which will include full boards from the BOCES districts.
In reviewing the Holyoke board retreat topics for Monday, Dec. 1, it was noted that discussion on a superintendent search will be a priority if Miles is approved for the BOCES position.
Additional retreat topics will include updates to Destination 2016, review of teacher evaluation instrument, staff recognition and follow-up from the Nov. 24 BOCES retreat on the topics of graduation requirements and assessments.
In preparation for the Nov. 24 retreat, Holyoke board members continued discussion on concerns about graduation requirements and additional assessments proposed by the state.
In other business at the Nov. 18 meeting, the school board:
—noted December board meetings will include a board retreat Monday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the board meeting room and a regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. The Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 meetings will be canceled.
—enjoyed a report by Principles of Business class students Kayla Marshall and Morgan Philips on their “Big Squeeze” project. They cited the impact of government regulations, technology and cultural issues on how businesses operate. They compared and contrasted the effects on local businesses as well as a larger business like Cabela’s.
—heard a fall sports report from athletic director Sandra Rahe.
—approved changes on final reading for policies on promotion and retention, health and family life/sex education, teaching about controversial issues, grading/assessment systems, and preparation for postsecondary and workforce success.
—gave first-reading approval to repeal several policies that are no longer needed or have been combined with other policies.
Holyoke Enterprise November 27, 2014