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(Updated 8:20 a.m.) School board member in Iraq "attends" meeting

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Although it was a middle of the night in Iraq, Slater school board member Joey Gochenour, who is currently there on military deployment, was "present" at the regularly scheduled school board meeting Thursday, Dec. 17 via a Skype Internet connection, facilitated by his wife, Angela.

According to school board president Rick Hays, Gochenour was also up at 3:30 a.m. Iraq time twice earlier this week to participate in interviews for the new high school principal.

During the meeting, the board heard a presentation from senior class members and approved a senior trip to San Antonio, Texas for 15 eligible seniors and at least eight chaperones. The trip is scheduled for Monday, March 29 -- Thursday, April 1.

In other business, they approved the budget for 2009-2010, after delaying approval for several meetings.

"We've talked about this several times and we waited until we got through all the bonding and determined when the money is going to come in on the bond," Slater superintendent John McEachern said. "I think we're just going to leave that out at the moment and if we have anything, which will probably come in June, then we'll do an amendment at that time."

In the approximately $3.8 million budget, the ending unrestricted reserve balance was projected at 13.3 percent, down four percent from the previous year. However, McEachern told the board that he hadn't added in $109,000 from the foundation formula, which would put the ending balance at 16 percent.

He also explained he used a lower revenue figure from Proposition C, a sales tax, than what actually came in last year.

"I cut it about $40,000," he said, or about 18 percent. He said the revenue has actually been coming in about 11 percent under last year, which would add in another $20,000, putting the reserve at 16.5 percent.

"That would be about 8/10 of a percent lower, which is pretty balanced considering our assessed valuations are down," he explained in a telephone interview.

In other business, the board voted to rescind earlier approval of a 2007 bond prepayment, a vote advised by bond advisor, Larry Hart of L.J. Hart and Company,.

They also discussed usage of the Slater Youth Center for the pre-school program for approximately 22 weeks next year while the new Early Childhood Center is under construction. After meeting with the youth center board, McEachern said the cost to the district would be over $5,000. Currently the classes are held in trailers, which will have to be moved in order for construction to begin. McEachern said they are waiting from the state to see if some of the requirements for the classrooms can get a temporary waiver, which would allow them to use other buildings for the temporary classrooms. They are also looking into available grants for the program.

The board also approved a new scholarship, given by the Giger family. The $500 scholarship will be for a student in need, attending a four-year college or university and having a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

The board adjourned into executive session to where no votes were taken.



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