Feb 222012

By Teri Walker —

Former Navajo County and Joseph City school superintendent B.G. “Bill” Bennett has gifted the Joseph City Unified School District with $1,000, a donation he asked to be applied to the Joseph City Music and Drama Program.

In a letter to the district governing board, Bennett wrote, “Lately, as the kind carpet of pleasant memories has started to unroll, I have been considering what I might do to show my appreciation for your kindness in naming the auditorium.”

Bennett directed that the money should be used to “supplement and not supplant” funds already budgeted for the program.

The donation, which was accepted by the board during its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 14, is to be the first of many, according to Bennett, who said he wishes to make a contribution each semester.

“This would continue as long as my health and mind would permit me to donate this financial support,” Bennett wrote.

During last week’s meeting, the board also approved the creation of a 30-hour per week, part-time fleet technician position. The district split a full-time position to create the job, along with a 30-hour per week bus driver position.

In other business:

* The board voted to revise the 2012 fiscal year non-contract work agreement salary schedule to pay concurrent enrollment teachers $25 per student enrolled in classes, instead of a lump sum payment.

The concurrent enrollment program involves high school students who are also enrolled in Northland Pioneer College (NPC) courses.

“The enrollment numbers are dropping, and the program is struggling to pay the amount of money listed on the salary schedules,” Business Manager Carol Henderson wrote in a memo to the board.

Henderson explained the district is paid $30 per student by NPC for concurrent enrollment, and the benefits added to the $25 payment would bring actual teacher reimbursement up to about $30 per student, as well.

* Henderson also reported to the board that tax credit contributions collected by the district last year were at an all time low. A total of $4,205 was donated to the district in 2011, down from $7,540 in 2010. The previous lowest tax credit amount donated in a year was $5,795, which was collected in 2009. In 2003, the district received its highest yearly donations, which topped out at $14,120.

“We need to do a better job encouraging the community to contribute to our tax credit accounts,” Henderson said in a prepared briefing to the board. “It is a good thing for the district and for the contributors, since they can claim a dollar-for-dollar deduction on their state taxes and get it all back.”

* The board approved the adoption of a statement related to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, granting Henderson the authority to change fund balances in the district’s financial statements, a requirement directed by the district’s financial auditors.

* In Joseph City High School Principal Bryan Fields’ monthly report to the board, he noted the school is considering starting an intramural soccer program, and requested volunteers, along with input from staff, coaches and the community.

* The board accepted the resignation of elementary teacher Brittany Ward, which will be effective at the end of her fiscal year 2012 contract period.

* Permission was granted for district employees to travel out of state to New Mexico for the Johnson-O’Malley Subcontractors Regional Meeting scheduled Feb. 28 through March 1.

* Meghan Poudrier was approved to volunteer with the JCHS softball program, and Robert Winner will be a Joseph City Junior High School track volunteer.

Finally, the board undertook the first reading of the proposed 2012-13 district calendar. The calendar will be adopted during the next board meeting.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, in the district office board room at 8176 N. Westover St.