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Scottsbluff Public Schools approves budget, tax request

September 12, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — A regular meeting of the Scottsbluff Board of Education convened on Monday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Scottsbluff High School meeting room. All board members were present.

After the Pledge of Allegiance and acknowledgement of the open meetings law, the school board opened a public hearing for the 2018-19 proposed budget at 6:01 p.m.

Chief Financial Officer Lavon Hood presented information about the district’s budget. She shared that the district has seen a 31 percent increase in student enrollment, which equates to 805 students. However, the growth has leveled off and does not include ESU 13 or ReConnect. The proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year is $45,091,773 with nearly 70 percent of that going toward wages and benefits. Professional services has 10.65 percent of the budget allocated for First Student, utilities and insurance needs. About 6 percent of the budget is used for supplies and capital. The remaining 14 percent is labeled as other, which includes expenses like dues and fees, field trips and grant expenditures. The district received over $36 million (80 percent of the money) for the budget through state aid and local taxes.

There was a 29 percent reduction in the building fund with the completion of the high school renovation. The nutrition services fund increased 11.83 percent to offset increased cost for labor and food, and the QCPUF fund increased nearly 30 percent due to the change in valuations. The QCPUF fund is used to pay for principle and interest on bonds for purchases like ADA accessibility and plumbing repairs. There was no proposed change to the activities fund, employee benefits fund or cooperative fund. The depreciation fund decreased since the high school project is complete, and the student fees increased from $15,000 to $50,000 for technology and Chromebook repairs. The bond fund increased slightly due to valuation increases. Board member Bob Kinsey read the proposed budget values aloud before the board moved to approve and adopt the proposed budget as presented.

At 6:08 p.m. the board opened a tax request hearing. The tax levy per $100 assessed value is $1.315271. The district’s assessed valuation was $1,537,556,341. Kinsey read the tax request aloud for the 2018-19 school year and the board moved to adopt the resolution.

The board moved to approve the consent agenda, which includes the Aug. 13 and Aug. 28 meeting minutes and expenditures totaling $168,565.47.

There were no public comments.

Josie Amoo and Halle Shaddick provided a student report. Student Senate sent officer members to be innovators for the Rachel’s Challenge assembly on Wednesday. Rachel Scott was the first student to die in the Columbine shooting. The art club will carve jack-o-lanterns and the physical education class completed their two-week unit on archery.

The board approved revisions to policies 403.02 child abuse reporting, 404.06 harassment by employees, 503.08 married students, 504.12 regulated devices, 504.18 harassment by students, 603.01 curriculum development, and 1005.03 parent involvement procedures. The revisions changed language in the policies based on advice from legal counsel and the state school board.

During the board members report, Ruth Kozal noted that the Scottsbluff Schools Foundation online auction is going on and encouraged people to participate. Money raised from the auction goes toward the students. Text CATS to 79230 or sbps.net/auction to view the items.

The Curriculum and Instruction/Americanism Committee will meet on Sept. 28 at 11:30 a.m. The Facility Committee’s next meeting is Oct. 4 at noon. The Finance Committee’s next meeting is Oct. 1 at 11:30 a.m. and the Student Services Committee will meet on Sept. 20 at 11:30 a.m. All the meetings will be located at the district office.

Executive Director of Student Services Wendy Kemling and James Todd discussed the threat assessment process.

“Our threat assessment is really looking at the likelihood that a particular student is escalating in violence or disruption to the school operations and this process looks at how do you mitigate those issues,” Kemling said.

The district has a threat response process, which Kemling shared in a flowchart. Nine members serve as the core team for threat assessment. Superintendent Rick Myles shared how the follow-up plan was a key missing ingredient in the threat assessment process. The student’s parents are involved in developing the follow-up plan to establish supports for the victim, student and staff.

Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Mike Mason presented information and a video about the new MAP reading fluency assessment that the district launched this year. The testing is for students in grades kindergarten through third. Mason said he has received positive comments from teachers and principals about the ease of assessment. In previous years, teachers had to pull students individually into the hall to read. That took time away from instruction, whereas this assessment tests the entire class within 20 minutes. The fluency testing has students speak into a headset while they are recorded for the teachers to play back later while seeing the text. Mason said the program adjusts to each student’s reading level and allows teachers to share the student’s recording with parents. He noted that it is helpful to have students to have some separation during the assessment to cut down on background noise.

Myles conducted his monthly walk-throughs at the schools and he is excited to walk the board members through the schools. He shared that he has never been in schools with the level of engagement in challenging coursework from staff and students.

“It’s amazing what I’m seeing in schools,” he said.

He also saw the integration of trauma intensive environments in the classroom as teachers respond with positivity to students of all needs.

The meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Scottsbluff Board of Education is set for Oct. 9.

To review the slides presented at the meeting, visit sbps.net and click on the Board of Education agendas and meeting minutes tab.

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