MARCH 24, 2003

The Southeast Warren Board of Education met for a work session on March 24, 2003, in the media center of the Junior/Senior High School building. President Smith called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. Board members present were John Burrell, Debbie Miller and Tom Farley. Greg Davis was absent. Superintendent Susan Garton, Elementary Principal Charlotte Weaklend and Board Secretary Julie Wilson were present, along with members of the faculty.

Superintendent Garton presented information on the uses of the General Fund, the revenue sources that comprise the General Fund, and tax rates, new money amounts and the percent of salaries to total budget for the past four years.

The General Fund cash balance has been declining at an alarming rate. The cash balance at the end of the 2001-2002 school year was $547,336, down from $840,351 the prior year. It is anticipated that the cash balance will show a decline again at the end of the 2002-2003 school year. The solvency ratio, a financial indicator, has also been declining. At the end of the 2001-2002 school year, the solvency ratio was 3.4%, down from 11.3% the prior year. The target range for the solvency ratio is 5%, which would require a $600,000 to $700,000 cash balance. In an effort to increase the General Fund cash balance, the Board has increased the 2003-2004 tax levy rate by $.25 per $1,000 assessed valuation to generate a cash reserve levy of $25,000.

Superintendent Garton presented information on the PPEL (Physical Plant & Equipment Levy) Fund. The PPEL levy generates revenue at the rate of $.33 per $1,000 assessed valuation. This levy generates about $32,000 income each year for the district. The PPEL Fund is a limited-use fund for items such as asbestos projects, improvement of grounds, repairing, remodeling, reconstruction or improvement of buildings, and purchase of transportation equipment.

The district requires a PPEL fund of $35,000 as the match for the construction grant to make improvements to the Intermediate gym/cafeteria building, which will be initiated in the summer of 2003. Additionally, the district has improvements planned such as repair of pavement in the high school parking lot, reseeding at all sites, asbestos removal at Milo, and misc. building repairs at the high school which should be charged to PPEL.

In conclusion, the demands for PPEL funds exceed the PPEL funds available. The solution: spread expenditures over a longer time and reduce spending.

Strategies were discussed on how to reduce spending. Following is a list of ideas discussed:

1. Check into the possibility of being billed directly by NAPA for the parts used for vehicle repairs by Milo Service Center, this would eliminate having to pay mark-up costs. Also, check into the possibility of purchasing oil in bulk to save costs.
2. Partner with businesses to receive products such as paper, supplies, and technology equipment at reduced costs. It was suggested that a committee be formed to organize a corporate solicitation program.
3. Copy materials that have copyright permission instead of purchasing workbooks.
4. Decrease open enrollment out.
5. Reduction of programs that are not required by the state such as Guidance, Media, elementary art and elementary P.E.
6. Family and Consumer Science could be cut to half time, but electives would be reduced. Also, the FACS instructor is certified for health.
7. Reduce 6th grade to two sections.
8. Reduce the KIDS Program, however, the program is funded by At-Risk.
9. Reduce one elementary principal.
10. Share a superintendent with another school.
11. Instead of paying for teacher substitutes, use our own staff.
12. Share teachers with other schools.
13. Increased use of the ICN classroom.
14. Combine the Board Secretary and District Administrative Assistant positions
15. Share a Food Service Director with another school.
16. Use of teachers to cover study hall duty.
17. Make 7th and 8th grade vocal music an elective.
18. Look at extended contracts.
19. Reduce non-revenue sports such as golf, bowling, cross-country.
20. Across-the-board freeze on salaries for all employees.
21. Hire a bus driver to take over the transportation supervisor duties.
22. Increase registration fees.

The ideas listed above were for discussion only and are not recommendations. Superintendent Garton invited the faculty to contact herself or Julie Wilson with any questions or ideas concerning the budget or financial strategies.

The Board scheduled another work session to discuss the budget and financial strategies on April 7th at 7:00 in conjunction with the Children First Forum.

President Smith adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m.

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