Cuts seem inevitable
SIKESTON -- Recent projections indicate state funding reductions are inevitable so Sikeston Public Schools Treasurer Lori Boardman discussed possible scenarios of budget cuts for the school district at the Board of Education meeting Thursday.
"The Department of Elementary of Secondary and Education is saying right now the most likely situation is going to be a $200 million reduction in state funding," Boardman said. "This results in $865,550 loss in revenue for Sikeston Public Schools. That in and of itself is a lot of money."
If the district looks at next year's expenditures -- only increasing on things that the school district can't control, such as rising health insurance costs or profit and liability costs -- and the district funds the current salary schedules without raises, it is projected the budget will reflect approximately $1.3 million dollars in deficit spending for the 2003-2004 school year, Boardman said.
"You and I both know that we have balances to cover that," Boardman told the board, "but the purpose is to give you and the community an idea that even though we aren't taking as hard of a hit that some of the other school districts may be up front, the fact that we do have balances is going to make next year not as detrimental to us as it is some other districts, but it's going to start to reflect those bottom line balances very quickly."
Boardman added that the budget reduction scenario is just a projection by DESE. She told the board that next month she may come to them with a different scenario. Currently state funding represents 43 percent of the district's total revenue.
In other business Thursday, A+ Schools Program Coordinator Mignonne Flagg gave an annual review of the program. Since 1999, Sikeston Public Schools has graduated 72 A+ qualified seniors and to Flagg's knowledge, 25 have used the program fully.
The A+ Schools program is a school-improvement initiative established by the Outstanding Schools Act of 1993. Students who graduate from a designated A+ School, may qualify for state-paid assistance (full tuition and books) to attend any public community college or technical school in the state.
Students who are eligible and utilize the program can pay as little as $25 a semester for tuition, Flagg noted. "It's a good program that we've seen just gradually grow and it's a wonderful opportunity for kids to take advantage of and as the cost of higher education goes up, I think more students will want to utilize the program," board member Dan Jennings noted.
Representing the Kenny Rogers Children's Center, David Mann explained there were some problems with the KRCC telethon broadcasting this year.
"For the past couple years the signal that has been coming out of the Field House through the hub at our telethon has been bad -- and it has been for the last couple years," Mann told the board. "We received many calls this year about it."
Mann proposed to the board that Charter Cable will provide the cable and labor free of charge, but that Sikeston Public Schools would have to pay for one piece of equipment, which could also work as a backup system for the district. The cost for the equipment would be between $2,100 and $2,500 and it would belong to the school, he said.
After some discussion, all board members voted in favor of the proposal; Rick Adams abstained.
Other issues addressed at Thursday's meeting:
* Newly elected board members Julie Crader Dolan and Ann Jones are scheduled to be sworn in Monday.
* The resignation of Brian Kelpe and the retirement of Nonie Fuchs was accepted.
* Terrel LeAnn Hill of Poplar Bluff was hired to teach science in the middle school. During her recommendation, Kathy Boldrey, Sikeston Public Schools assistant superintendent of curriculum and middle schools, noted Hill's exceptional Missouri Assessment Program knowledge and variety of teaching strategies.
* Both the Senior and Junior High choirs and percussionists were recognized for earning a "1" rating at the District contest this year.
* Andrew Wallace was recognized for receiving fifth place at the regional math contest.
* The Junior High School was recognized for the Missouri Association of Students Gold Award.
* Amendments to the 2002-2003 budget due to grant changes were approved.
* To make up a snow day, the Sikeston Public Schools will be in session on April 21.