Friday, September 26, 2014

Board Workshop

On Wednesday September 24, the North Butler Board of Education held a workshop in the middle school media center in Allison. This was a workshop that was discussion only, no actions were taken and no decisions were made.

At this workshop we discussed the required yearly evaluation of the superintendent by the board and what that process would look like. The board was given a copy of the Iowa School Leadership Standards to look at, and then we will create verbiage in those documents that is meaningful to us as a district. This will allow us to create a streamlined evaluation process that is understandable for all board members and stake holders.

The financial situation of the school district was also discussed. As a group we brainstormed different ways that we could look at fixing our current financial situation. I am currently in the process of meeting with staff, to allow them the opportunity to share ideas that they may have that would help us to fix our current situation. If any members of the community have any thoughts please feel free to contact me by email, phone, or stop in the office (just check to see which one I am in first).

A portion of the financial discussion focused on the need to develop pay scales for the hourly employees, as we currently do not have a set pay scale. I will be working to develop these, and hope to have that completed prior to the October 13th board meeting. We also need to review and modify the pay scale for bus and van drivers, as it is very inequitable. Our current pay scale for bus/van drivers pays them the same whether they drive for 5 minutes or an hour. Those things need to be corrected.

We also discussed the fact that many items in the classified staff handbook do not align with board policy, and the necessity of making those items match board policy. We will then be bringing all of the classified contracts into line with board policy, and will need to set a timeline to do so.

You may find some of the financial ideas that we discussed on the form that is located at the link below. This comes directly from the Department of Education. It is meant as a tool for schools with financial issues to use to help in developing strategies to work their way back to a positive standing.

Items for schools with Neg. unspent balance

Friday, September 19, 2014

School Finance-North Butler Schools Budget

Iowa school finance can be relatively complicated. There are several different funds, most of which can only be used for certain things.

For instance, we have the Physical Plant and Equipment levy (PPEL), which is up for renewal on a special election on December 2nd. This is not a new tax; it is just a renewal of this levy with no changes to the rate. This fund is used for building infrastructure, maintaining and improving our buildings and grounds, purchase or lease of equipment such as busses, and technology purchases when the unit is over $500 in price.

We also receive funds from the Statewide Schools Infrastructure Sales and Services tax. This is a one-cent sales tax on purchases that comes back to the schools and we are able to use these funds in the same way as the PPEL.

North Butler Community Schools is doing well in this area. We have in the PPEL and One-cent funds that will allow us to maintain our buildings, and we are currently looking at improving our bus fleet through the use of these funds.

The general fund is the area that North Butler has struggled in for the last several years. The general fund is the area that most of our operating costs come from. Things like utilities, fuel, bus repairs, and the biggest portion is the salary of all employees. Salaries and benefits take up approximately 75% of the general fund. At the end of fiscal year 13, the district had an unspent balance (school finance term-like being over on your credit card limit) of -$43,616. At the end of fiscal year 14, which ended June 30 of this year, North Butler had an unspent balance of -$267,398. There are several causes for this, and we are working diligently to correct it. We are in the process of discussing with staff the things that we will need to do to help make this possible, and will need all staff members to work together to get where we need to be.

As a point of importance, it is against the law for a school district to overspend its budget. When a school district overspends its Maximum Authorized Budget, which is basically set by the state, it must then build a corrective action plan and go before the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC). North Butler’s board and previous administration built a corrective action plan and went before the SBRC in December of 2013. We will again be building a corrective action plan and going before the SBRC in December of this year. According to Iowa Code 257.31, subsection 18,

If a school district exceeds its authorized budget or carries a negative unspent balance for two or more consecutive years, the committee may recommend that the department implement a phase II on-site visit to conduct a fiscal review pursuant to section 256.11, subsection 10, paragraph “b”, subparagraph (1), subparagraph division (e).

During a Phase II site visit, if the site visit committee deems that a district is not viable, the state board of education has the right to close that district for nothing other than financial reasons. This is a relatively new change, and makes it imperative that we are able to show a detailed, accurate corrective action plan to the SBRC. The corrective action plan and supporting documentation must be submitted to the SBRC prior to the end of business on November 14th, with the hearing to be set for some time on December 16th.

I am currently in the process of visiting with all staff members, to gather input from them on ways that we can work to save money, and areas where we can make reductions in expenditures.

Please feel free to contact me, or stop in and see me if you have any questions or thoughts on this or any other topic.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sept 8, 2014 Board Notes

Last Evening the North Butler Board or Education held their regularly scheduled meeting, which also included the yearly organizational meeting. They took the following actions;

1. Approved selling items to highest bidder-list is available in the business office.
2. Retired old board
3. Elected Eric Bixby as President
4. Elected Troy Feldman as Vice President
5. Appointed Shellee Bartlett as Board Secretary
6. Appointed board committees
7. Approved Lincoln Savings Bank as the official Depsitory
8. Approved Rick Engel as the attorney for the school district
9. Approved the Greene Recorder and Butler County Tribune as official publications of the district
10. Approved the District Developed Service Delivery Plan (Special Education)
11. Approved the Lau Plan (English Language Learners)
12. Approved resolution to move forward with election for the voted Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (this is not new-by statute it has to be renewed on a regular basis) This is a levy for 67 cents per $1000 of valuation of property. It is continuation of an already in place levy that helps fund building repairs, bus purchases, technology purchases, etc. The resolution will be available for review in the business office and on Mr. Foster’s blog once it has all the necessary signatures.
13. Approved new employees/substitutes as follows;
a. Van Driver
i. Melissa Brehmer
ii. Justin Briney (Pending Background Check)

b. Sub Teachers
i. Judy Meyer (Pending Background Check)
ii. Ann Thomason (Pending Background Check)
iii. Lana Underwood

c. Sub Associate
i. Brenda Heuer (Pending Background Check)
ii. Connie Opperman (Pending Background Check)
iii. Sue White (Pending Background Check)
iv. Katie Dralle (Pending Background Check)
v. Karson Roose (Pending Background Check)
vi. Carol Barth
vii. Emily Ascher

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Board Agenda for Monday September 8, 2014

North Butler Community Schools
Regular Board Meeting September 8, 2014
Allison-MS Library 6:30 PM
Tentative Agenda
  1. Call to Order
  2. Review and Approve Agenda
  3. Approval of Minutes –August  2014
  4. Financial Reports -
  5. Public Items of Discussion
  6. Board Items of Discussion
  7. Open and approve bids on vehicle/item disposal
  8. Retire old board
North Butler Community Schools
Organizational Board Meeting September 8, 2014
Allison-MS Library 6:30 PM
Tentative Agenda

  1. Call to Order
  2. Elect President/Swear in
  3. Elect Vice President/Swear in
  4. Appoint Board Secretary
  5. Appoint Board committees
  6. Approve official depository
  7. Approve school attorney
  8. Approve official publication
  9. Approve District Developed Service Delivery Plan
  10. Discuss and Approve Lau Plan (ELL)
  11. Discuss/Approve Voted Physical Plant and Equipment Levy Resolution
  12. Human Resources
  13. Administrative Reports
  14. Adjournment