Long Range Planning, Cold Weather Issues, and Security

125990_600Monday was both the Facilities Committee and the Regular School Board Meetings.

Facilities Committee

The CCIU’s John Cramp and Peter Siauch presented the Committee with a report of long range maintenance issues that will assist the Board with budgeting, and cost savings. Their comprehensive report is the first in 13 years, with the intent of being regularly updated every couple years. One big reason for the report is to avoid being taken by surprise by sudden, catastrophic system failures, and to fix problems before they are problems.

Jiff Groff continues to investigate the efflorescence problem at the PLC.  Efflorescence is the “white stuff” accumulating on the building. While it can be an indication of structural weakness, the problem at the PLC is cosmetic.

During the extreme cold of the “polar vortex,” there was a heating problem in the Intermediate School’s gym and cafeteria. The diagnosis of the problem determined it was too cold for the heaters to work. The Intermediate School uses a heat pump system, which extracts heat from the air. In the extreme cold, there is no heat to extract.

Board Meeting

This month’s Treasurer’s Report shows the total General Fund Cash and Investments, as of December 31st, was over $26.6 Million.  Dan Carsley, Business Manager, presented a list of bills for Board approval from the General Fund, Athletics Fund, and Cafeteria Fund. The bills total over $3.4 Million.

Aside from personnel issues, the Board voted to approve the second reading of Policy 806: Child/Student Abuse. Additionally, the Board voted on several new courses available for 2014-15, course name changes, and course deletions.

Visitor Comments

Mike Weaver, of Atglen, spoke at this week’s Board Meeting on the topic of Security. He was concerned about the idea of armed security, and voiced his opposition. He asked what evidence the District had on the effectiveness of School Resource Officers or armed security? He wanted to know what other options the District explored, and was concerned about the lesson we are teaching children by having people with guns in the school.

Denim Kurtzhals (sp?) spoke, thanking Dr Newcome and others for all their help with the Science Club. Overall, he wished to thank all teachers and staff for the work they do.

The Budget

Since I was sworn into office, in December, I have been asking for more and more information about past budgets, the current budget and costs, and the 2014-15 Draft Budget. I have become concerned that over the last several years the gap between budgets and actual costs has grown significantly.

For the last 3 years, actual costs have remained flat at $44.3 Million, while the budgets have continued to grow. Last year’s budget was $46.6 Million. The difference created a gap of almost $2.4 Million higher than actual costs, and a $1.8 Million surplus.

The Administration is currently looking for the Board to approve a budget of $48.2 Million. With the large and growing discrepancies between budgets and actual costs, I have been working to get an accurate picture of how actual costs will look at the end of the year. At the moment, there is a large difference between my projections based on current YTD costs provided, and the District’s own projection.

In my opinion, over-budgeting is over-taxing. Before we even attempt to have a discussion about cost saving measures, we need to have an accurate picture, and a budget that represents actual costs.


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