School board approves 2013-2014 budget

By Daniel Brunty

The Choctaw Plaindealer

 

The Choctaw County School Board held their budget approval meeting for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year as well as a special meeting regarding property liability insurance in the conference room at the Central Office on June 25 at 10 a.m.

This meeting is the follow-up to the Board’s budget hearing on June 18, where it was announced the district is expecting total projected revenue of $16,817,292 to operate the budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

At the approval meeting, board members held little discussion before unanimously voting to approve the budget. They followed that with a motion to approve the signing of the budget by board members.

During the June 18 meeting, Superintendent Glen Beard discussed how last year that the district had a deficit, but was proud that the addition of the fund balance (which was a first in numerous years) allowed the district not to ask for an ad valorem taxes from the county.

After the adopting of the budget, Beard spoke positively about the financial future for the district. “It’s nice to have a budget for the first time in many years that will operate in the black, rather than in the red,” Beard said. “It’s going to be nice to actually have a budget which we can truly build into the fund balance this year, rather than what we have done the past, which we pulled from reserved funds.”

Following the approval of the budget, the Board went directly into their special meeting to discuss property liability insurance for the district. Mike Hughes from Weaver Insurance was on hand to address the board members with their options regarding coverage.

Weaver explained that insurance rates at this time were extremely higher than last year’s nationwide, and premiums were 29% for liability insurance, which includes the district school buses. Property insurance was also up nationwide, 116% higher than last year’s premiums.

“Obviously I am upset about the increase,” Beard said of the new insurance rates after the meeting.

With the previous year’s insurance term expiring on June 30, 2013, board members reluctantly approved to choose the higher rates and agree to terms with the offered insurance, with the understanding they may go back and make changes to the terms of the insurance in the future.

“It is something that all school districts across the state are facing,” Beard said later. “From what they tell us the reason of the increase is due to the straight-line winds and the storms we had over the last year, as well as hail damage. Not only has it been in our neck of the woods, but across the state as a whole. However, insurance companies have basically got us bent over a barrel, because we have to have that insurance. So we just have to bite the bullet and do what we have to do.”

The board also approved the consent agenda, in which they:

Approved the resignation of Cory Blaylock from CCHS and released him from contract.

Approved the recommendation of Mrs. ReGina Smith as assistant Principal of AES for the 2013-2014 SY pending clearing of background and fingerprints and verification of prior experience.

Approved the recommendation of Ashlyn Moulds as a SPED teacher for CCHS for the 2013-2014 SY pending clearing of background and fingerprints and verification of prior experience.

Approved the recommendation of Jonathan Walker as an English teacher at CCHS for the 2013-2014 SY pending clearing of background and fingerprints and verification of prior experience.

Approved the recommendation of Brenda Little as an English teacher at CCHS for the 2013-2014 SY pending clearing of background and fingerprints and verification of prior experience.

Approved Marshall Hughs as Band Director at CCHS for the 2013-2014 SY pending clearing of background and fingerprints and verification of prior experience.

Approved request for fixed asset disposal.

The Choctaw County Board of Education will have their next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 16 at 7 p.m. in the boardroom of the Central Office.