Elgin Public School officials cautiously looking at the 2020-2021 spending budget
Elgin Public School officials cautiously looking at the 2020-2021 spending budget

ELGIN - Projected state aid cuts have Elgin Public School officials cautiously looking at the 2020-2021 spending budget.

Superintendent Nate Meraz informed the full board of education during the regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, May 14, after receiving the news earlier in the week.

According to Nate, the State School Board Association and Council of School Administration, both professional groups that offer advice to public schools, notified him of the proposed state budget cuts. The cuts are being based on $135 per weighted average daily membership (ADM).

If the governor does approve the reductions, Nate said EPS estimated figures show that the school would lose close to $450,000 in state aid in the upcoming year. 

"I don't want to alarm anyone," said Nate. "There may be some things we'll have to tighten our belt on, but we'll be responsible with our funds."

GENERAL FUND

With the general fund sitting at 4.5 million, numbers show that a 10% carryover in to the 2020-2021 will be possible, which is considered a "good goal" financially.

Temporary appropriations to the Comanche County Excise Board was approved for the 2021 fiscal year. Amounts include general fund - $18,933,125.40, building fund - $979,073.75, child nutrition fund - $803,611.17 and the coop fund - $32,724.30.

Ad valorem taxes have come in as expected and bring the building fund to a "healthy" 1.2 million. Some expenditures are still expected for the current bond construction project leaving about one million in the account realistically.

Designed to be used for campus expansion and maintenance, Nate said the intent behind the building fund is to "build." 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

Stepping into executive session board members discussed the possibility of using the funds to make a purchase offer on the Martin Field Complex and the adjacent parking areas to the south of the complex.

Back in open session the board provided Nate with authorization to contact David Kolker, Chairman of the Elgin Economic Development Authority, with an agreement to offer a $350,000 purchase price for the property.

The session also resulted in the discussion and approval of making a lease-purchase offer on a section of land and real property located between the school farm and Wolf Road.

The contract for the lease-purchase offer includes 21 acres and the shop building on the land that forms the Bridgewood Development, said Nate. The agreement involves a purchase price of $650,000 that will be divided into five annual payments. 

PERSONNEL

After a separate executive session board members approved four resignations along with the hiring of elementary, middle and high school teaching applicants for the 2020-2021 school year.

Middle school math and science teacher Meghan Rockohr, elementary teachers Brandi Coffman and Ade- line Fischer and high school history teacher Dreama Goosetree will resign effective May 21.

GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS

Taking action, the board determined the maturities and set a date, time and place for the sale of $500,000 general obligation bonds of the school district.

Board President Charley Robertson introduced the resolution and Amber McNeil made a motion and announced the sale of the approved March 2017 bond to be sold at noon on June 11. The motion was seconded by Shane Burk and recorded by a clerk present for the reading.

SPECIAL EDUCATION SALARIES

Salaries for special education extended school year (ESY) instruction for this summer were agreed upon.

EPS occupational speech therapists will receive $55 per hour, physical therapists $60 per hour, teachers $25 per hour, paraprofessionals $15.26 per hour and $25 per hour for third-grade summer academy tutors.

FEEDING PROGRAM

The emergency meal feeding program will continue through June 30 and may be extended if the state remains under an emergency order, said Nate. Students no longer have to be present to receive a school meal, as long as someone is available to pick it up for them.

JUNE BOARD MEETING

The next Elgin Public School Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on June 11 at the administration building located at 501 K Street in Elgin. All meetings are open to the public.