The Slater School Board held its end-of-the-fiscal-year meeting at noon on Tuesday, June 30 to close the books on the 2008-09 school year.
As it has in past years, the board voted to adopt a 2009-10 budget of $3,694,863.12 -- the actual expenditures for the past year.
"What we have done in the past is we've accepted the final budget and we approved the expenditures for the following year's budget," said Slater superintendent John McEachern.
However, he said he had a budget ready for the 2009-10 school year until he received the 2009 aggregate assessed valuations of $17,459,959 on June 25. That figure is $475,261 less than last year's valuation.
Although he said has contacted Saline County assessor Margaret Pond, who is looking into the figures, "that is what we have to work with right now."
He said he would present a budget reflecting the decrease at the July school board meeting.
The board continued the discussion they started last meeting about constructing a new kindergarten and pre-school building. The money would come from newly available Quality School Construction Bond (QSCB) money, which is tax-free.
"The bond and the bonding capacity we have within our district it would be well within our range of a no-tax increase bond," said McEachern. With the stimulus money, the issue only needs a 4/7 majority to pass.
After visiting some similar buildings, McEachern said they were looking into a 17,000 square foot building, which would have an open area for play or gathering, with room for up to three classrooms on either side.
After some inquiries, he was given a rough cost estimate of $1.3 million.
"It could be condensed to cut some of this cost," he said, adding that the figure was higher than he thought it would be.
He also pointed out the possibility of a large number of school districts vying for the limited stimulus money.
"If bonds are passed by quite a few school districts then they are going to prorate the amounts to the school districts," McEachern said, adding that the difference would not be tax-free.
"But within our capacity right now we can go as high as $1.9 million with no tax increase, according to our bonding company," he said. "This would be within our range but I don't think it would be a wise choice to spend this amount for our building."
After discussion the board asked McEachern to keep looking into pricing. They said they would need to make a decision by the July board meeting in order to get the bond on the November ballot issue.
"Even if we had to call a special board meeting to do it, but I think we need some more options to look at," said board president Rick Hays.
In other business, the board voted to reject playground bids that came in from two companies, National Playground Association and ABC Creative, which ranged from approximately $36,000 to over $100,000 for various options.
After discussion, including how to manage the large amount of water that runs through the current playground after heavy rains, McEachern said "We have to look at what we can do and I think it will have to be a phased project."
In other votes to close out the year, the board voted to close student body accounts, approve amendments for the 2008-09 budget, approve a transportation transfer and approve a grant match transfer.
Board members Jodi Fuemmeler and Larry Skinner were absent from the meeting.
After adjournment the board went into executive session.