The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 15, 2014

Central approves school budget

By Jan Huffman Herald Correspondent
The Clinton Herald

---- — DEWITT — Four public hearings opened the Central Community School Board meeting last week. There was no input or questions to assist the board in its decision-making on budgets and capital expenditures.

An amendment to the current fiscal year budget was approved for actual expenses, increasing instruction costs to $10,444,000; total support services to $5,043,950; non-instructional programs to $975,000; and other expenditures to $3,988,433.

The fiscal year 20014-15 budget also was quickly approved. In a budget workshop prior to the meeting, business director Tina Bartels reported enrollment had declined by 10 percent and it is enrollment that determines the budget. Basic enrollment is 1,477.6 students and with weighted enrollment (special education and supplementary, such as at risk) the total is 1,495.37. Pre-school enrollment is 46 1/2.

New money is projected to be $167,605, but without the current year’s budget guarantee, the net new money is a negative $10,907.

The management fund levy was increased to reflect early retirement participants’ costs. Bartels said the fund had been in the negative all year. There will be 22 retired teachers in the program in 2014-15.

The construction fund account will have a zero balance, with $338,794 in STAR pledges yet to come in through 2015. The general fund solvency ratio is currently projected at 5.6667, which is a healthy ratio, Bartels said. In addition, the regular cost per student is $6,366.

The district will have a slightly lower tax rate than the last three years at $15.07232 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This is 30 cents less than 2013-14.

The board approved the bid of $259,869 from Holst Construction of DeWitt to install concrete in the operations department parking lot. Though two lower bids came in after the deadline, operations director Keith Walker said he followed the rules in recommending Holst’s bid. The board decided to install concrete rather than asphalt at about $70,000 more in cost because the life expectancy of concrete is nearly double that of asphalt.

Also approved after the public hearing were bids on boiler replacements. Two different companies were hired at a savings of about $8,500 after all bids came in more than original estimates. J L Brady of Moline, Ill., at $181,808 was approved to replace the Ekstrand Elementary boiler, and Scharnweber Water Conditioning of Toledo, Iowa, was approved to replace the high school boiler.

The board accepted the resignations of Maria Cibula as part-time intermediate general music teacher and Laurie Wildes from seventh grade volleyball coach. Middle school teacher Katie Danner was hired to replace Wildes.

A student teaching agreement with Ashford University was approved as was a memorandum of agreement for college credits with Clinton Community College. The agreement increases fees for current classes to $600 per section.

The board tentatively approved a sharing agreement with the Iowa High School Clay Target Association for trap shooting. This will allow the district to officially recognize children for awards, athletic director Kurt Kreiter said. Approval is contingent on clarification of insurance issues.

High school Principal George Pickup reported the district in 2013 had a 95.54 percent graduation rate as opposed to the state rate of 89.7 percent.

Director of Student Services Terri Selzer said there was only one non-compliant implementation on individual education programs, or one question missed out of 33, and there was no corrective action in the annual special education report.

Blake Buttars, representing the Central Education Foundation, reported that this was the 20th year for giving grants with over a record $44,000 given. Out of 33 requests, 22 were funded. He added over the 20 years, 236 grants had been funded for about $400,000 in monies.