Wednesday, January 29, 2014

School Board looks at increased cost of meals; 2014-2015 budget

by Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor
The Webster County School Board was scheduled to hold it’s annual Food Services Public Forum prior to the start of Monday night’s board meeting. As no members of the public were on hand, the board voted to table food service director Shane Bosaw’s presentation until the board meeting.
While waiting for the meeting to start, the school board held a work session with representatives of the Kentucky School Board Association’s (KSBA) eMeeting staff. 
Katrina Kinman and Kelly Thomas with the KSBA spoke briefly to help familiarize board members with the board’s new eMeeting format. In the fall the board voted to adopt an electronic format, which will allow them to save money on paper used printing packets for each meeting. 
Prior to each meeting, board members normally receive a packet containing important documents and information pertinent to upcoming business. Under the new format each board member has been issued an iPad, and KSBA’s eMeeting will host those documents on a secured part of their website.
Estimates show that the board spends roughly $536.84 per meeting on the preparation of packets that board members receive. If the board holds two meetings per month, the yearly cost comes to about $12,884.16.
“eMeeting” will cost the board $2,250 the first year, and $1,000 a year for subsequent years.
According to Kinman, Webster County is the 77th school district to adopt the format, which has branched out into non-KSBA related areas as well. She named Owensboro Municipal Utilities, the Ohio County Fiscal Court and the EKU Board of Regents among the organizations that have adopted eMeeting.
When the board meeting finally got underway, Judge Executive Jim Townsend was on hand to present Webster County School Board members with a proclamation honoring them. On behalf of the Fiscal Court he declared January as School Board Recognition Month in Webster County.
“I thank you for the work you do,” he told the board. “We as parents and grandparents thank you for stepping up and doing the job.”
 “We would like to thank you and the magistrates for the job you do helping the school district,” Chairman Jeff Pettit replied. “We appreciate that and look froward to having a good working relationship with you.”
“You can depend on us for help in the future,” Townsend said.
In other business, Food Services director Shane Bosaw informed the board that it had become necessary to increase the cost of Webster County school lunches.
As part of the FDA free and reduced lunch program, food services is reimbursed the cost of those meals. But by accepting the federal funds, food services is required to follow specific FDA guidelines.
“Right now we charge $1.90 per paid meal,” Bosaw explained. “The FDA is reimbursing us $2.65 for each free meal.”
According to Bosaw the FDA expects the district to increase the price of lunches to match the reimbursement rate. The board has the option of choosing the amount of the increase, starting as low as $0.10 per meal.
“I don’t want any increases, but if we are going to reap the benefits of the school lunch program, we have to make some effort to get it to where they say it should be,” said Superintendent Pete Galloway.
“Even if we put a plan in place, chances are by the time we reach the goal in 5-6 years the amount will have raised,” said Pettit.
Bosaw told the board that although it was the FDA requiring an increase, the food service department was in need of that extra funding.
“Food services is self sufficient,” he said. “We receive no operating funds from the board. We actually pay the board $40,000 a year to operate in the school system.”
Bosaw said that currently the cost of food had increased to the point that it was getting hard to operate. The added income from higher priced lunches would help food services remain self sufficient.
Tim McCormick noted that he didn’t want to increase the price, but if they had no choice, he wanted to go with the minimum amount.
The board voted to table the discussion until they can take a look at the financial impact and increase would have on food services budget.
Webster County School District Treasurer Brandi Burnett presented the board with a first look at the 2014-2015 budget.
“This is the first of three budgets you will see for the 2014-2015 school year,” she said. “I want to tell you all, this is a very rough draft. There will be many changes.”
Judge Executive Jim Townsend
According to this budget the district is looking at a $17,637,331.02 balanced budget for the next school year, but it did not include information from Fund 2 (special revenue), Fund 360 (construction) or Fund 60 (fiscal agent-Delta Project.
$17.6 million sounds like a lot, but when you look at what it takes to run a school district, it’s not,” Burnett said. “This is going to be a very tight budget.”
On Monday night the board appointed it’s representative for the committee that will interview candidates for the new Superintendent of schools. Board member Tim McCormick will join teacher and administrator representatives, as well as two representatives that will be selected by the district’s PTOs. The Committee is required by law to include at least one minority, which will most likely be selected from the PTO parent representatives.
By request of Superintendent Galloway, the board reviewed changes to the Site Based Decision Making committee (SBDM) allocation formula. This is the formula used by the board to allocate funds to each school to pay it’s teachers.
The formula is based on the number of students in the school. Adding the Webster County Middle School will drastically change the way the district’s funds are allocated, because each of the elementary schools will see a major reduction in student population. This will mean a reduction in teachers in each school, although ideally those teachers will be moved to the middle school.
Under the plan proposed by Galloway, the district will see two changes right from the start. The position of music teacher at the elementary schools will be eliminated, with the elementary band director being reassigned to the middle school. The plan will also remove a half teacher, or part time allocation for a PE teacher , at the high school.
The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 10, 2014 at the board office in Dixon. Meetings start at 5:30 p.m.

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