By Naomi Hatch –
A public hearing was held May 10 by the Snowflake School District Governing Board to discuss budget revisions to the 2011-12 fiscal year budget, which were then approved by the board.
Business Manager Mark Ollerton summarized changes and recommended approval of the revisions.
He explained that legislation was drafted to be effective this year that affects Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS). It was increased from a 50/50 split to a 53/47 split, with the employee picking up the greater share. On July 1, 2011, they went back to 50/50 split, which will be a reversion in which the district will be paying back to employees three percent of the premium that was paid on their behalf and this will happen prior to June 30. The revision will put $43,539 back into the maintenance and operations budget.
Due to average daily membership figures, the state re-evaluated growth and a total of $9,693 was adjusted, with $8,759 being put into the unrestricted capital budget and the remainder adjusted to maximize the budget balance carry forward.
All grants were finalized after the budget was adopted, so there has been an increase in costs in some areas such as substitute teachers, benefits and sick leave buyouts. Ollerton noted that the district experienced a high turnover this year.
He also noted that a major decision regarding the budget was reached. The district utilized the prepayment of insurance premiums for several years as a “legal” means to expend budget capacity. This was done to provide protections if something negative were to happen. There is now more than $1.1 million in prepaid premiums. Ollerton recommended a one-year partial draw down of the insurance prepaid premium by moving $500,000 in the RCL to unrestricted capital, which would have a direct impact on the maintenance and operations budget, and at the end of the year they will pay the balance of the budgeted amount to the medical insurance carrier or an insurance clearing account.
Ollerton said that the transferred money will be made available for capital purchases.
Revisions were approved in the regular meeting consent agenda.
Eddie Hancock was on hand to make a presentation for the Arizona School Risk Retention Trust, and after thorough review, he concluded it is the district’s best choice.
The board unanimously approved the district’s insurance with the Arizona School Risk Retention Trust.
In other action May 10, the board:
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement with Northland Pioneer College, which offers college level courses that may be counted toward both high school and college graduation requirements at Snowflake High School during the school day.
* Approved the General Statement of Assurance.
This authorizes district personnel to access documents on the Arizona Department of Education website if they have an assigned user ID.
* Approved the renewal of the Southwest Food Service Excellence contract for the 2012-13 school year.
This is the fourth year of the firm’s contract and it was seeking an increase of $500 per month. After negotiating, Ollerton reported that Southwest officials withdrew their request for an increase in the management fees.
* Tabled a decision on having a board member attend the Arizona School Boards Association Delegate Assembly on June 30.
* Tabled a decision on awarding a contract to First Student to provide transportation services for the district for two weeks in order to give staff more time to negotiate and firm up the bid.
* Approved the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds request.
Ollerton explained that this funding is similar to a grant from the federal government allowing the federal government to assist in paying the interest fees attached to any loan the district receives for energy renovations.
* Approved a fivecent increase for paid breakfast and lunch from $1.75 to $1.80 for breakfast for kindergarten through sixth grades and from $2.30 to $2.35 for lunch. Lunch for seventh through 12th grades increased from $2.55 to $2.60. The reduced and adult breakfast and lunch prices will not change.
Ollerton explained that the federal government does not want the free lunch program to subsidize paid lunches, therefore the district had to increase the average price for paid lunch to a price equal to or greater than the free and reduced lunch rates.
* Held the first reading of a policy revision regarding entrance age requirements.
Previously, a decision was made not to allow early entry kindergarten students. Upon review of the policy, it was determined that it had not been revised, but principals were under the impression that it had been changed. This policy revision will change the policy to match the current practice.