Trigg County School Superintendent Travis Hamby called it a “roll-over budget” of the current fiscal year’s working budget, as there isn’t enough information about funds from the state to make a more specific budget.
The board approved $16,637,140.94 for the working General Fund budget and $22,322,273.85 for the total overall budget in late September last year.
For example, Hamby said that while they know the county retirement rate and the teachers’ retirement rate will go up, they don’t know if there will be mandated salary increase.
He also said they don’t know what kind of funding they will receive from Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) or for Categorical programs.
“We have our SEEK that we get from the state, which is our primary funding from the state, and it’s been cut $134,000 this year,” said Hamby. “We started out the year being funded at $3,868 per student, and we got cut about $70 per child just in the month of January already.”
Hamby said that over the next few months, he and the board are going to look at ways they can “tighten our belt” as they look to prepare a more definitive budget.
Hamby said he expects that when the new fiscal year starts on July 1, the district will have a carryover balance of $4.1 million, $1 million less than the beginning balance. However, thanks largely to impact aid, the fund balance will still be solvent, he added.
“It doesn’t look too pretty, but I think we’ll be okay,” said Hamby.
The superintendent also expressed concerns about the possibility of less revenues from tax collections and utility taxes due to the economy, as well as probable increases in utlity and fuel costs.
The school board also heard from the district’s Wellness Committee, members of which spoke at a public forum 30 minutes before the regular meeting. Members talked about how students are faring with regard to nutrition and physical activity and gave recommendations for how to improve both.
The board did not act on any of those recommendations, but further discussion will probably take place at future meetings.
Among the recommendations are a policy allowing students to bring water bottles to class, providing a high school breakfast serving area to get more high school students to eat breakfast, and to create a workout room using donated and used but safe equipment for the middle school.
Another recommendation entails adjusting the schedule to allow more opportunities for physical activity. However, Trigg County School Food Service Director Paula Maddox said the cost of that might be prohibitive.
Maddox also talked about possible national nutrition requirements for school breakfasts and lunches. Changes include a possible limit of one cup of “starchy” vegetables per week and a sodium reduction of more than 50 percent over the next ten years.
Maddox said these proposed regulations, should they be passed, could increase the costs for the school’s food service.
Ginger Gray, Director of School Food Service for the Kentucky School Nutrition Association (KSNA), agreed. According to a letter written by her, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that such changes would add an extra 7.2 cents at lunch and an extra 25.3 cents at breakfast to the price schools pay for their food.
The proposed rules can be found at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-485.pdf.
The board also approved a BG-1 for the re-roofing and HVAC replacement project for the school central office, estimated by the Kentucky Department of Education’s Facilitie Management to cost $222,680.
The BG-1 now has to get approval from the KDE, and after that approval the bidding process can begin. This was attempted last year, but all the bids were too high, and the board rejected them.
In other business, the board approved a purchase of cameras for 20 of the school buses after Bill Glisson of Whayne Supply demonstrated them. Hamby said there will two cameras in the buses, one in the front and one in the back, and combined with GPS devices, the cost will be about $34,000.
Hamby said administrators realize that bus drivers have a tough job trying to see everything that happens on the bus, and that the GPS devices will help school official track where the buses are in the county.
The board also approved a non-resident contract with the schools boards for Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Todd and Lyon Counties. James Mangels, Director of Student Services and Personnel for Trigg County Schools, said there are 197 students that reside in Trigg County but go to school outside the county.
There are 40 students from outside Trigg County that attend Trigg County Schools, Mangels added.