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(Updated 8:06 a.m.) Slater school board approves budget

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Slater School Board members went outside during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21 in order to choose the new bricks for the new Early Childhood Center. Board member Rob Newman looks from the foundation of the new school, in order to gain perspective. An exact match to the current building was unavailable but board members chose a similar brick.
The Slater School board approved a "conservative" 2010-2011 budget during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21, which reflected a slight increase in the district's assessed valuation from the previous year.

This year's valuation is $18,049,309 which Superintendent John McEachern wrote in a budget narrative would "benefit our school during a time of state budget reductions." After an adjustment from the Board of Equalization the assessed valuation in 2009-2010 was $17,695,445.

The new budget set projected revenues at $3,681,463.85, reflecting 94 percent of projected money from the Foundation Formula, two percent less than the state's 96 percent recommended number, as well as a six percent cut in the projected Classroom Trust Fund, 30 percent of the actual transportation allotment and no state funding for the Career Ladder .

Slater superintendent John McEachern shows brick samples for the new Early Childhoold Center to board members during the regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Although an exact match was not available, board members chose one of the middle patterns which most closely matched the existing brick. At left are board members Rob Newman and Steve Taylor.
In the budget, McEachern said the goal was to keep expenditures at $275,000 per month, although some months including December or January with a MUSIC payment of $52,000 due, would have higher than average expenditures.

"I am going to do be doing my darndest to keep everything within these guidelines," McEachern told the board, adding that however, if something is needed for the students they will get it.

"I think we'll be able to stick with it and be balanced," he said in a later phone interview, when asked about the tighter budgets that school districts across the state have been facing. The Slater board held a series of budget workshops last year to look for areas to tighten expenditures. "With what we've done in the last couple years leading up to this has benefited us tremendously."

The $275,000 number does not reflect the $16,000 per month in bond payments and includes the payroll which averages $225,000 per month. Other necessary expenditures for the year will probably include a new boiler, estimated at $25,000 and a fence around the playground expected to cost $9,000.

The board also discussed another necessary expense for this year -- repairs to the Alexander Building which has water leakage in the northeast and southeast corners, which has caused damage to the classrooms, as well. McEachern has been receiving estimates for fixing the problem, including one for $97,524 from a restoration company. He is currently awaiting an estimate from Thompson Builders for a less expensive solution for the problem. After discussion the board decided they would hold an emergency meeting later in the week, if needed, to make a decision on getting the problem fixed.

Early in the meeting, the board went outside to choose the bricks for the new Early Childhood Center. They were able to compare samples against the current building. Later in the meeting McEachern said the current estimated completion date for the building is March 25, 2011.

In other business, the board approved several gifts to the school, one from Kent Feeds for $1,250 to the agriculture department; a $500 grant from Caterpillar of Boonville after employee James Miller chose the district for the gift from a safety program at the plant and a $500 gift from the Slater PTO for the school band.

The board heard from teachers Diana Schaefer and Barbara England about the Book Club, which will be expanded this year to include 4th -- 8th graders. They discussed having a fundraiser, in order to raise money so that children who attend the literary festival in Warrensburg will be able to buy at least one book. After discussion, the board suggested they solicit funds from groups such as PTO, which had already agreed to pay the transportation costs, before holding a fundraiser.

Other measures passed during the meeting included

- Approved revised Career Ladder plan

- Approved a revised teacher evaluation form

- Approved Missouri Preschool Project funding payment, which will come through when the new building is completed.

- Revised occupational therapy contract to eliminate paying for mileage, instead paying hourly for travel to the school.

The board adjourned to executive session, where they discussed personnel and student issues, but no votes were taken, according to McEachern.

Board members Mike Venable and Joey Gochenour were absent from the meeting.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at mgorrell@marshallnews.com

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