2/27/2014 2:38:00 PM School board discusses budget revisions
by Nora Bryson
Due to parent/teacher conferences, the Cannon Falls School Board meeting Monday night, February 24 was early and short. The Board approved the revised 2013-14 budget, the 2014-15 calendar, snowday make-up dates, the contract with WETC, a resolution to finance the new leased buses, Cheryl Sasse's retirement and posting the position, the list of Spring Assistant Coaches, the first reading of the Kindergarten Early Admissions Policy and the second reading of the revised Policy 501 (Weapons).
Cathy Holm of SMS (School Management Systems---a payroll firm utilized by the district), explained the 2013-14 budget revisions for General Manager Josh Davisson who is on his last week of leave. General Fund revenues increased by $209,369.52 (due to adjustments in recorded levy amounts and recalculating state aid) but expenses also increased by $295,559.51 (due to an additional $75,000 for the technology initiative, $164,000 in legal fees, $67,000 for the Goodhue County Education District contract, $17,725 for new bus, and an estimated 2.5% increase in salary and benefits based on current negotiations). The $132,666.46 difference is $86,189.99 further in the red than previously projected.
Food Service numbers has both revenues and expenditures decreasing (by $20,000 and $8,000, respectively) but overall leading to a wider shortfall of $9,580.66 as opposed to a positive balance of $2,419.34. Holm stated she was not concerned by the numbers as food service was a "fee based" fund and should even out.
Community Service increased in both revenues and expenditures (by $53,828.29 and $30,186.46; respectively) while still ending in the black by $25,174.97 ($23,641.83 better than projected). The Fund is doing so well that Holm said, "it may need to be spent down" to avoid penalties under Minnesota legislative regulations.
The Debt Service fund took a bigger hit than projected due to the addition of a 2009 series bond payment. Revenues declined by $65,329.00 while expenses increased by $110,075 creating a negative balance of $173,216.50 (a difference of $171,029 from the original projections). Holm felt this would also "work its way out with the levy certification."
The Trust and Agency (mainly scholarships) Fund, the OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits---read as retirement pensions) Trust Fund, and OPEB were left unchanged. Trust and Agency has revenues of $40,150 and expenses of $42,500; leaving a negative balance of $2,350. OPEB Trust has revenues of $9,000 and expenditures of $100,000; leaving it $91,000 in the red. OPEB has revenues of $137,750 and expenses of $126,050; leaving a positive balance of $11,700.
Overall, from an original budget of $13,596,077.96 in revenues and $13,718,064.45 in expenses (a shortfall of $121,986.49), the revised budget now projects revenues of $13,773,946.77 (an increase of $117,868.81) and expenses of $14,145,885.42 (an increase of $427,820.97) leaving a negative balance of $371,938.65 ($249,952.16 more than expected).
The approved 2014-15 calendar has school starting on Tuesday, Sept. 2 and ending on Friday, June 5. There will be nine PLC (Professional Learning Community-teacher staff development type workdays) 2-hour, early release (as opposed to the current ½ hour late starts) days and a Spring Break running effectively from March 28 to April 9. BE ADVISED: If there are snow days, they will be made up from these Spring Break days. MEA (Minnesota Educators Association) Conference will give kids the usual Thursday and Friday, Oct. 16 and 17 off from school. Thanksgiving will include November 26. Christmas will run from Saturday, Dec. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 4.
So far this year, there have been five snowdays and two days with late (by two hours) starts. The Administration has chosen to make up part of this time by using ½ of the teacher workshop day of March 24 and one full day of Easter vacation on April 21. Board Member Rob Siebenaler suggested pulling from some of the PLC times, but High School Principal Tim Hodges insisted that wasn't possible. The Board approved of the calendar changes as they appear on the District's website.
The Board dissolved the SEMNET internet and technology consortium agreement and approved a 5-year contract with WETC as discussed at the February 10 meeting. Services will be provided at a cost of $37,800 per year and will commence on July 1, 2014.
The Board approved a new Resolution Authorizing the Execution and Delivery of a Master Governmental Lease-Purchasing Agreement and Supplemental for the "lease-to-own," bus purchases. The new Resolution voids the one passed last month and is needed because the district changed to a Minnesota lender (Wells Fargo); which made for "a lot less hoops." The District was able to get the same rates with the new lender.
The board regretfully approved the retirement of long-time (29 years) Elementary Art Teacher Cheryl Sasse. Her retirement will be effective at the end of the 2013-14 school year. The board thanked Sasse for her years of dedication and service to the children of Cannon Falls. The Board approved posting and hiring to fill Sasse's position.
The Spring Assistant Coaches were approved as follows: Baseball JV - Randy Hartl, 8th - Tyler Quinlan, 7th - Kevin Landry; Golf Varsity - Doug Rechtzigel, and Jr. High Sue Bremer; Softball JV - Cory Cruz Barrett, and Jr. High Eric Mace; Track - Boys' Jr. High - Joel Rustad, and Girls' Jr. High - Abbey Erlanson.
The board approved the first reading of Kindergarten Early Admission Policy that states a child should be 5-years old on or before November 1 (as opposed to September 1 for regular admission) and demonstrate, via assessment tools, they are socially and intellectually ready to begin school. Application must to be made by April 1 of the preceding year. Determination will be made by a committee which includes the Elementary Principal and the Kindergarten teachers.
The Board passed the second Reading of the Revised Policy 501 School Weapons as written by the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) without any discussion.
In recognition of this being National School Board Recognition Week, Superintendent Beth Giese gave special thank you to the board for their service and dedication.
The next board meeting will be Monday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at the Elementary School Auditorium (NOTE the LOCATION CHANGE). Agenda items currently include: first Reading of the Revised Policy 616 School District System Accountability, second Reading of the Kindergarten Early Admission Policy, options for more snowday make-up dates (in anticipation of March continuing its reputation of being Minnesota's snowiest month).