The Chewelah School District Board of Directors adopted the 2012-2013 budget on July 18 at a special hearing prior to their regular monthly meeting.
Since the budget is based off of the number of students enrolled, also known as FTE (full-time equivalent), they have projected 820 students for the 2012-2013 school year.
In 2011-2012, the district projected 841 FTE but the actual average enrollment for the year was 822 FTE.
They also expect less revenue for the year and estimate $8,267,000 instead of $8,400,000, which was budgeted for 2011-2012.
Superintendent Rick Linehan said they may need to shift staffing if kindergarten numbers remain low as they have not received as many as expected. Right now 39 kindergartners are enrolled but 52 are anticipated for the year.
The school district has already shifted 18 classrooms to prepare Gess Elementary and Jenkins Middle School for the sixth grade move to Gess. This also includes relocating the Chewelah HomeLink and Alternative High School to the former JMS Library building and moving the library to a vacated classroom.
A Spokane Skills Center nursing program will also be conducted at the JMS building beginning this fall.
In addition, Jenkins Middle School principal Jon Symonds will be teaching the leadership class and taking on more duties in the Title Program along with his regular responsibilities.
Dennis Bean of Chewelah addressed the school board during their regular meeting about a volunteer group, led by Jenkins High School alumni from the late 1960s, that is working to find funding to renovate Snyder track and field.
Bean said many people and businesses throughout Eastern Washington, and across the country, have promised to donate labor and materials to improve the field and construct a new regulation track.
They estimate materials to cost about $230,000 and currently have commitments for $50,000 in cash donations. However, Bean said they will not actually collect any money without the school board’s approval to go ahead with the project.
The board requested a formal written proposal that must include donation promises in writing before they consider approving it. They plan to review it at a work session in September.
School board members said they appreciate all the work the alumni have done and their willingness to contribute, but there will be a lot of factors to consider. One factor is whether the track will be moved to Barbour Complex to be included in renovations at Jenkins High School. If included in a capital bond proposal, it would qualify for 60 percent state match funding.
Director Larry Kristianson said they also need a trustworthy project manager to follow through with a project of that size and responsibility.
Linehan said that part of the school district’s summer work projects include improvements at Snyder Field for the upcoming 2012 football season. They will make repairs to the crow’s nest to make it more stable as well as repaint.
Linehan recommended that the school board pursue an energy grant available through OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) to make improvements at Gess Elementary. To be eligible to apply, an initial energy audit would cost the district $15,000 to $35,000 whether or not they are awarded the grant. The board asked for more information before proceeding.
The school board postponed the approval of an amendment to Linehan’s superintendent contract to add two additional personal leave days. Chairwoman Deanna Norvell suggested they give Linehan the extra days with the intent that they be used for community service duties required of the superintendent.
Linehan said he has used vacation hours to attend community meetings and related events in the past.
The contract amendment they were set to vote on, but postponed because of the addition of leave days, is to remove the clause about how the superintendent can be terminated without cause.
Both amendments will be voted on at the August meeting.
The school board did approve changes to the superintendent salary schedule to say that he will be receiving the same benefits as teachers regarding leave allowance. He may also participate in the district sick leave sharing program and his education increments will be based on approved clock hours for continuing professional development.
Furthermore, the school board approved the extracurricular salary schedule and contracts regarding club advisers and coaches.
The policy and procedure for high school graduation requirements was approved. Director Clint Kirry requested that a presentation be made at a future board meeting on the new science requirements at Jenkins High School.
The next Chewelah school board meeting will be Wednesday, August 22 at 6 p.m. at the District Office.
By Kellie Trudeau
The Independent Staff