(Originally Posted on Blogger)
Friday, February 6, 2015
Feb. 4, 2015
The board discussed budget reduction planning and proposed legislation that would impact education funding. The district’s Budget Advisory Committee has met twice and is being asked to look at reductions that represent 2%, 6.3%, and 8.5%. Dr. Bob Seymour, Assoc. Superintendent, reported that legislation was passed this week that would keep the state solvent for the next 2-3 months, and the legislation included delaying payments until June that would equalize capital outlay funding. Another bill under discussion would reduce funding for the Local Option Budget. Board member Curt Herrman commented that the latter bill seems to be aimed at forcing districts to spend down their contingency funds, which districts maintain for emergencies and for things like being able to make payroll when state payments have been delayed.
Dr. Seymour reported on the district’s mid-year enrollment. Kindergarten had increased by 23 students, which amounts to one additional classroom of students. First grade had increased by 10 students. Other grades had experienced various increases or decreases, such that the net for grades K-12 was an increase of 9 students.
Board members also discussed possible topics for the retreat scheduled for Feb. 25. Topics to be discussed included the update to the Manhattan Urban Area Comprehensive Plan, utilization of classroom space, and the 2015-16 budget.
Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Jan. 21, 2015
In light of state budget shortfalls and the impact that will have on education funding, the board discussed plans for reducing the budget. A Budget Advisory Committee will begin meeting to examine possible budget reductions and to make recommendations. Proposed reductions in state funding for education included elimination of some or possibly all weightings and reduction in block grant funding by $127 million for operating funds. The impact to USD 383 would result in a projected reduction of $1,755,000.
The board also discussed a proposed agreement with the City of Manhattan for an easement to create a bicycle pathway along the vacated portion of Houston Street that runs through the campus of MHS-E. The board had approved the easement on first reading at the previous meeting but had had a number of questions. Questions included wanting to know who would be responsible for maintaining the bike path, could signage be included that would warn cyclists that they are entering a parking lot, signage requesting that cyclists yield to pedestrians, will school administrators have the authority to ask loitering cyclists to “move along,” etc. Peter Clark, with the City of Manhattan, answered board members’ questions and indicated that requested signage could be included and that the city will be responsible for maintaining the bike path. Board members approved the agreement 7-0.
Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Jan. 7, 2015 Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Board members discussed a request from the City of Manhattan to construct a bicycle pathway along the vacated portion of Houston Street that runs through MHS East Campus. Houston Street has been designated as a bike boulevard, and a bike path through the campus of MHS-E would provide for connectivity. The bike path would involve no cost to the school district. Board member Curt Herrman said he was not completely comfortable having a bike path through a school district parking lot and wondered who would have the right of way when students are crossing the bike path to attend gym class, who would be responsible for maintenance of the bike path, and wondered what happens if an accident should occur in the parking lot? Darell Edie suggested putting up a speed limit sign that would limit bikes to 5 mph. Pat Hudgins suggested signage that would deter usage of the bike path during the school day and also expressed concerns about students crossing the bike path as they walk to and from gym class. Dave Colburn said the bike path would include a “yield to pedestrians” sign and agreed that a speed limit sign might be a good addition. Leah Fliter said that maybe the board should invite representatives from the city to attend the second reading of the item. The board approved 6-1 on first reading to accept the agreement to grant to the City of Manhattan a pedestrian and bicycle easement at MHS East Campus, with Herrman dissenting.