By Julie Wiessner
The Winslow Unified School District Governing Board held a special meeting June 28 to go over the preliminary budget, then approved it.
A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 a.m. on Monday, July 15, in the district office, located at 800 Apache Ave., on the second floor, with a special meeting to follow at 7:15 a.m. when the board is expected to give final approval to the budget.
The state estimated general budget limit is $11,817,877, up from last year by $40,753, a four percent increase. The unrestricted capital budget limit is $1,435,321, an increase of $82,585 or 6.1 percent when compared to last year’s amount of $1,352,736. These two funds make up $13,253,198 of the proposed budget.
In addition, federal projects funding will see the biggest increase in the budget at $4,788,661, increasing by $546,611, a 12.9 percent increase over last year’s amount of $4,242,050. Impact Aid will account for $2,659,217 of the budget. This makes for an estimated total aggregate school district budget limit of $15,382,642.
The second largest increase to the budget is to classroom site funds. This is Proposition 301 money for teachers to improve their teaching skills and earn performance pay stipends. It is up by 26.1 percent at $1,230,048, a total of $254,470 more than last year’s amount of $975,758.
Shirley Lomeli, the district’s business manager, noted that state support levels have increased by 1.8 percent, amounting to about $60 more per pupil, but the district’s enrollment decreased by 29 students.
The district will receive an estimated $250 per student in the District Additional Assistance Fund.
According to Superintendent Doug Watson, the state has combined the soft capital and the unrestricted capital funds, creating a new category called District Additional Assistance. “It is a good change, and makes it simpler and easier to use the money in it. It is not as restricted and will help a lot of districts,” he noted.
Lomeli added that the district has two judgments against it, one of which is an excess tax valuation judgment involving Transwestern Pipeline. For a three-year period, the district will have to pay back a figure ranging from $66,000 to $266,000, with that figure to be determined at a later date. Board members asked questions and made comments regarding the judgment from Transwestern Pipeline. It was pointed out that the excess taxation of Transwestern was not due to an error made by the district.
The second judgment resulted from an Average Daily Membership audit. The district reportedly claimed a greater student count than it should have, resulting in a $140,400 judgment to be paid over a three-year period. Approximately half of that will come out of next year’s budget.
Local property taxes, another source of funding for schools, will remain the same this year as last year. The primary rate is at 2.4699 percent and the secondary rate is at 2.8483 percent. The secondary rate applies only for voter approved overrides and bonded indebtedness.
In other business, Assistant Superintendent Lance Heister reported on the food service program. He said over 456,000 meals were served this past year, noting that 300,000 of these were lunches and the remainder were breakfasts. Overall, this is a 72 percent participation rate, which comes out to a little more than one meal per student per day, all at no cost to the students. Heister said the program is $25,000 ahead for the year and that pursuant to a recent audit the district was given an extra six cents per lunch reimbursement, which amounted to $18,000.
In other action June 28, the board:
* Approved policy changes regarding salary deductions, emergency procedures, retirement of professional staff members, graduation requirements and student discipline.
Watson noted the changes would put the district’s policies in alignment with recent changes in the law.
* Approved expense and payroll vouchers totaling $967,230.49.
* Approved the hiring of Cheryle Benton and Dominique Diadoo as third grade teachers at Bonnie Brennan Elementary School; Sainte Lucke, fourth grade teacher, at Bonnie Brennan; Wilbur Brady and Matthew Palmer, substitute bus drivers; Nicole Buonviri, S-3 Grant Coordinator at Winslow High School; Kacey Fulton, part-time classroom aide at Jefferson Elementary School; Kristin Hess, English teacher at Winslow Junior High School; Christa Knox, art teacher at WJHS; Dominique Reid, kindergarten teacher at Jefferson School; and Joy Renfro, part-time custodian.
* Approved the transfer of Steve Brodt from fourth grade teacher to sixth grade teacher at Bonnie Brennan School; Ginger Fischer from part-time music teacher to full-time music and reading teacher at Bonnie Brennan School; Brandon Guzman, from social studies teacher at WJHS to physical education teacher at WHS; Gabriel Nava from third grade teacher to fifth grade teacher at Bonnie Brennan School; Theresa Pacheco, from special education high needs aide to special education classroom aide at Washington Elementary School; Elizabeth Petreman, from clerical aide/driver to secretary/driver at transportation; and Pam VanArsdale, from fifth grade teacher to fourth grade teacher at Bonnie Brennan School.
* Approved the resignations of Craig Moody, physical education teacher at WHS; and Kayla Main, sixth grade teacher at Washington School.
* Approved a $77 donation to Jefferson School from Arizona Restaurant Systems, Inc.
* Approved renewal of a lease agreement with the Northern Arizona Council of Governments Head Start program from Sept. 30 to Sept. 29, 2014.
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology for the 2013-14 school year.
* Approved renewal of an intergovernmental agreement with Vail Unified School District for the Beyond Textbooks program.
Watson noted this is a continuance of the current agreement and that the district is happy with the program.
* After suspending a policy which requires two readings to revise policies, the board approved policy revisions regarding professional staff probationary and continuing status, professional staff assignments and transfers, and two policies concerning evaluation of professional staff members with the first and final reading of the policies.
Watson explained that the proposed changes must be in place by July 1 to comply with new laws, thus the urgency and the need for adoption after one reading.
* Approved the qualified evaluators for the upcoming year, a procedure normally done in January.
Watson noted that it seemed more fitting to have this in place prior to the start of the school year, and asked that the superintendent, assistant superintendent, principals, assistant principals, supervisors and their designees be named as qualified evaluators for the 2013-14 year.
He also asked that the board approve the academic coaches to conduct observations and provide feedback, and added the academic coaches would not be completing evaluations.
* Approved Dale Patton and Mike Aylstock as hearing officers for the 2013-14 year.
* Approved a resolution regarding assessment of student academic growth.
Watson noted this will give more strength and impetus to assessment of achievement data. The state is moving rapidly with regard to tying this data to evaluations. It will set forth requirements for pre-tests and post-tests, and will put everyone on the same page.
* Approved the revised teacher evaluation instrument.
This will bring the instrument into compliance with the new laws regarding specifying evaluator training as Arizona School Administrators Certified Evaluator and incentives for highly effective teachers.
Watson noted that additional revisions will likely be needed in the future as the laws change, and new ideas and plans are implemented.
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By Julie Wiessner