Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, reported on the school finance bill, which passed both the House and the Senate Monday night. The bill will need to be evaluated by the Supreme Court to determine if it adequately meets academic needs. Mr. Faust speculated that there might be issues with the bill, and hopefully, a new deadline will be set that will allow any inadequacies to be addressed. The bill established the state foundation aid at $4,006 per pupil, which is an increase from the current $3,852 per pupil. Next year, the state foundation aid will be $4,128, and after that, increases will be based on the Midwest Consumer Price Index. Other features of the bill included funding for all-day kindergarten, increased funding for at-risk, and increased funding for special education. Transportation funding saw little change, and virtual education funding was the same. Determining the enrollment count was more complicated than in the past, and for some programs, funding will be based on the current year’s enrollment instead of the previous year’s, which could result in the state needing to come up with additional funds for a program. Mr. Faust said the new finance formula feels a lot like the old formula. Dave Colburn wanted to remind everyone that this happened because of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Faust provided the board with updated information for budget planning. Health insurance was expected to increase by 7%, which amounts to $315,000. Overtime decreased by $50,000, which was attributed in part to increased pay for bus drivers, being able to hire enough drivers, and then not needing other staff to drive overtime. The general fund budget authority was projected to increase by $2.5 million, the supplemental fund was projected to increase by $538,000, and the cost of living authority was projected as $785,000. Leah Fliter commented that the board has been complaining about funding, and if the board starts using the additional authority for property tax relief and not for the classroom, she will complain.
The board received an annual report on district health services. Of the school population, 88% of students received health services, and there were 71,199 visits to school nurses. The board received a report on MHS athletics and activities, with 69% of students participating in an activity. There had been an effort the past year to get more freshmen involved. The board was also provided with reports on early childhood programs and professional development and collaboration.
The board approved adopting curriculum for early learning programs, the purchase of anti-virus computer software ($47,522), and the purchase of theatrical lighting for Rezac Auditorium at MHS ($75,500).