Fremont #1 Adopts 2014-2015 Budget
Business Manager Travis Sweeney presented the Fremont County School District #1 Board of Trustees with the 2014-15 budget at its meeting Tuesday evening. The budget has a $235,000 deficit; however, Mr. Sweeney told the Trustees that even if the actual expenditures do exceed revenues by that much this year, the district will have a 13.2% budget reserve. He noted that the Board’s goal as stated in the Resource Allocation Model of at least 80% of budget going to salaries and benefits is achieved in this budget. Former Fremont #1 Business Manager Kirk Schmidt expressed several concerns about the budget during the budget hearing. Among the concerns he stated were failure to reduce the number of staff at Lander Valley High School to correspond to the number of students at the school, the continuation of the Dropout Prevention Coordinator position since no other districts have such a position and it will be paid from the general fund now, funding the speech and debate coach position last year for only one student who participated in the program, allowing students to charge for school breakfasts and lunches when they have no money, and concern about some major maintenance items. In addressing some of Mr. Schmidt’s concerns, Superintendent of Schools Mike Bowman said that 3.25 full-time staff equivalents (FTE) were reduced from LVHS for the 2013-14 school year and that due to an overall increase in enrollment and increases in enrollment in certain departments, 1.5 FTE were being added back. He went on to say that in calculating the number of staff needed for 500 students at LVHS to provide students the 28 credits needed for graduation, there are 29.7 FTE needed. LVHS is staffed at 30.17 FTE for 2014-15, and having the staffing within one-half FTE of the theoretical is very acceptable. Dr. Bowman said that the Dropout Prevention Coordinator position will be paid from both federal funds and from the general fund. Mr. Sweeney addressed other issues raised by Mr. Schmidt. Trustee Dave Clark told Mr. Schmidt that the Board represents all members of the community and that Board weighs all factors in determining expenditures and that the level of staffing at LVHS reflects what the Board believes to be in the best interest of the community’s students. The Trustees unanimously approved the 2014-15 budget.
The Trustees approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the County to house the Day Reporting program in three rooms at the Starrett facility. The County Commissioners had previously approved the MOU. The County will pay the school district $500 per month to use the facility, and the MOU is renewable each year. The Day Reporting program is for juveniles in Fremont County who would normally have been incarcerated for non-felony offenses and for students from Fremont County school districts who have been expelled from school. In the Day Reporting program, the juveniles are able to continue their education from a certified teacher, receive counseling, and perform community service.
Travis Sweeney informed the Trustees that he was planning to restructure the district’s Warehouse and Transportation departments, also known as the Central Services Department. There will be a Transportation Director who will be responsible for all of the Transportation Department, including mechanics and bus drivers. Previously, the Director did not supervise the mechanics. A Transportation Department secretary will be hired, and that position will assist in scheduling activity trips, answering the phone, and serving as a back-up to the Warehouse Supervisor. The Warehouse Supervisor position will move from part-time to full-time.
Other items from the Board meeting included:
- Recognized Terry Berg, LVHS golf coach, for being named the National High School Golf Coach of the Year.
- Set a special meeting for August 5 at 6:00 p.m. to provide an orientation for anyone who is considering running for a seat on the Board of Trustees.
- Saw architectural plans for the Board room that will be in the new administration office, i.e., the former Starrett Junior High building and provided input to the architects.
- Approved three of the four policy changes recommended by the school district’s attorney and heard on first reading policy changes that will assist the school district as it prepares for accreditation in 2015-16.
- Approved the funding agreement with Fremont County Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) for 2014-15. BOCES will use approximately $79,000 of the $152,000 it will receive from the one-half mill levied by the school district for administration and overhead with the balance being available to provide classes for LVHS and PHS students.
- Cancelled the August 1 7:00 a.m. school board meeting.