The Stark County School Board discussed a number of cost saving and revenue enhancing measures recommended by the superintendent. There is a current deficit budget and the potential for another deficit budget next year.
Some items discussed as possibilities included: Increasing various fees and athletic ticket prices, Freezing non-essential spending, Pursuing a lower cost water treatment option for the boilers, Freezing the textbook rotation, Freezing principal’s budgets, Reducing extracurricular trips, Reducing professional development for board and staff, Bidding out property/casualty insurance, etc.
Following the discussion the Board directed the superintendent to prepare specific recommendations for the March Board meeting for possible action.
The Finance/Building Committee reported that boiler installation bids were opened last week and recommended that the board award the bid to the lowest responsible bidder for $79,734. The Board voted to award the high school boiler installation bid to Mechanical Incorporated from Peoria at the base price of $79,734.
Ian Campbell from Kings Financial provided a presentation to the board on several scenarios for restructuring existing debt. The finance committee discussed with the full board the debt restructuring options presented by Mr. Campbell. Based on the refinancing options presented, the Board directed Mr. Klooster to work with Mr. Campbell to bring back to the March meeting, options the board could act upon.
In order to reduce future levies the Board is considering restructuring its existing debt by using monies received from the capital development grant to pay down some bonds, and refinance existing bonds at a potentially lower rate.
Transportation Director Don Turnbull was in attendance to recommend that in addition to extending the lease on an existing activity bus, that the board also let bids for the lease of two 65-passenger buses to replace two buses coming off lease.
The board voted to approve the two-year lease extension of a current 2013, 14-passenger Chevy Star Craft for two more years at cost of $5,896 per year. The Board also voted to let bids for the leases of the buses to replace the two 65-passenger buses coming off lease at the end of this school year.
The Board voted to purchase from Houghton-Mifflin a six-year commitment of online resources, teacher texts and consumable student texts for a one-time cost, not to exceed $30,000.
The District owns two large John Deere zero-turn mowers and two smaller John Deere riding mowers. Each year the Board considers the potential benefit of trading the mowers/tractors in for newer models. Based on a recommendation from the Maintenance Supervisor, the Board agreed to keep its current equipment for another year.
Klooster noted that because school was canceled on February 2, the last day for planned student attendance is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 27.
Klooster also publicly thanked the State Bank of Toulon and members of the community that use the Visa Rebel Card. Because of card use, last week Bank President Doug Parrot was able to provide Mr. Klooster with a check for $10,500. The monies will be used to purchase technology equipment for the district.
After an executive session, the board accepted the resignation of Jennifer Bell as crossing guard effective February 3.