She has contacted several area schools in an effort to discover some other methods used to fund travel expenses by school groups but had learned little of value, she said during Monday's meeting of the city school board. As Harlan High School and Harlan Middle School are considered one school, their funding allotment from the state is much less, so the more programs they have, the less money each one has available to cover expenses.
The board and superintendent sympathized but could offer no immediate relief of the problem.
“With the money we're getting right now, it's just not enough to run our programs,” she told the board.
“The pie is only as big as it is,” Johnson said. “You make one piece bigger over here, another one has to be made smaller over there.”
“Throwing more money at it may work for the moment and may make you feel better,” responded Joe Meadors, the board's chairman, “but unless we get some kind of handle on this issue - some kind of control over it - you'll be back here in two or three years with the same problem.
“We've got to change attitudes about it,” he added. “There have to be changes to the way our people think about how they plan their groups and the travel that goes with it.”
A more long-term solution is required, Meadors said, and the board agreed to include the issue in their budget planning work, which begins in January, and involve the school councils in the discussion.
Other funding issues were also on the agenda.
They jumped at an offer to apply for matching funds through the state that would install modern “field turf” made from recycled tires at the high school football field and on playgrounds at the middle school, elementary school and Sunshine preschool.
If all those projects are approved, the district would have them completed at a local cost of about $13,500.
In old business, the board made decisions on some finishing touches for the arts and humanities building, currently under construction.
Matthew Brooks, a representative of Lucas Schwering Architects in Lexington, was there to present some color samples of finishing touches for walls and highlights.
Brooks also requested approval of a change order on the project that would alter the schedule to credit the contractor with weather delays experienced in September and October. Approval of the request would push the completion/occupancy date to July 23.
Board members were concerned this would leave them with no more time or room to spare before the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, when the building is scheduled for use.
“They have to understand we have to be in the building on the first of school,” Meadors emphasized.
Brooks then presented details his firm had developed for lighting at the baseball and softball fields at Georgetown. Board members were very pleased with the quotes and directed the superintendent to file the appropriate form with the state education department's Division of Buildings and Grounds to apply $185,000 from the district's restricted construction funds toward the project.
They also agreed to add approximately $9,500 to the cost of the arts and humanities facility project that would result in complete external lighting for the Clover Street side of the district's property.