Just how to deal with a possible a projected loss of $359,764 loss in funding is becoming the white elephant in the room at USD 373 board meetings.
Monday superintendent Deb Hamm discussed using cash reserves, and contingency reserves,
"We need to have some direction," Hamm said. "We have until Aug. 25 to approve a budget, but I would like to know if the board is amenable to (using reserves). If you do not want us to do that, then our budgeting process will take a whole different track."
Not using those reserves could lead to staff and program cuts, depending on what the final action is by Gov. Sam Brownback and the state Legislature.
Currently the district holds 5 percent of the general fund in cash reserves — a total of $9.7 million in 17 funds.
"You do have to look at what those funds are," said Russell Wilson, assistant superintendent of finance. "For example, we have nearly $3 million in bond and interest. We will have a large bond payment due."
Board members Barbara Bunting and Carol Sue Stayrook Hobbs voiced a desire to spend down some of the reserves, but did not offer a number.
Hamm said there are very few ways for the district to raise funds — limiting the options to an increase in state aid or an increase in student population.
She said spending reserves are an option, but not a long-term solution.
"This would last us two, maybe three years. You will be at a point where you can't draw those down anymore," Hamm said.
In other business the board:
• Accepted a donation of $1,500.00 from Harvey County Farm Bureau to Walton Rural Life Center which will be used for educational projects with students at Walton Rural Life Center.
• Accept the $20,000.00 grant from Wichita State University to USD 373 K-4 Science Teachers which will go to start-up expenses for Project Lead The Way and includes purchasing supplies and professional learning.
• Approved the adoption of the McGraw Hill Wonders basal series for the K-6 English Language Arts teachers.
• Accept a donation of $1,499.62 from the Class of 1942 given to USD 373 to be distributed as necessary.
• Approved a statement of support for the National Guard and Reserve demonstrating support of our educators who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
• Discussed class sizes and future staffing needs.
• Ratified the cooperative purchasing agreement with the Kansas School Food Purchasing Coop as presented.
• Accept a bid from Sherwin Williams for tile replacement at Northridge Elementary with a total cost of $1,280.94.
• Accepted the low bid from Wray Roofing, Inc. for $144,769.00 for roof repair and restoration at Chisholm Middle School.
• Accept the low bid from Baker Furniture for carpet replacement at various places in the district for a total cost of $30,444.54.
• Continued membership in the KASB Legal Assistance Fund at a cost of $1,650 for the 2014-15 fiscal year.