Even in a new year, the Harlan County School District grapples with the same old problem of not having enough money.
While discussing a draft budget for 2013-14, Superintendent Mike Howard told the board of education during Thursday’s regular meeting that cuts were going to be required and staffing reductions would likely be the result.
Though he would do all he could “to keep it away from the classroom as much as possible,” at this point the board should expect to make some difficult choices soon.
The district is currently awaiting information from the state to allow the central office staff to make reliable calculations for SEEK funding through the end of the current year, Howard said.
SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) is the state’s formula for funding schools according to student attendance. By February, he should have “a better guess” for how the current year will end with regard to the district’s finances, Howard said.
Budget cuts were also discussed when the board addressed a proposed contract amendment from the Cumberland Valley Health Department for provider services.
When asked how recent cutbacks at the health department affected school clinics, Howard said the health department had moved some nurses around and adjusted schedules, with more sure to come, but that all schools would continue to have nurses in school health clinics at least part of the time every week.
In a related fiscal matter, the board accepted the audit report from Troy Gaw with a request he return to their February meeting to discuss it once they have had the opportunity to study it.
Gaw said the audit for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2012, showed the district’s records were in “very good shape” and that he did not find any issues at either the central office or any of the schools that needed to be brought to the board’s attention.
Gaw also pointed out the list of findings deep in his report. It was a very short list this time, he said, when not that many years ago several pages worth of findings would show up in the annual reports.
Being the January meeting, before conducting officials business the board members elected in the fall (Gary Farmer, Brenda Henson and Myra Mosley) were sworn in by Board Attorney Johnnie Turner. Farmer was elected to continue his service as chairman of the board. Wallace Napier was elected vice-chairman.
The board also set the regular meeting date to be the third Monday of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m. Due to a schedule conflict, the March meeting will be held on March 21.
In other action, the board:
• Accepted an employment report from the superintendent of one certified staff hired at half time and two classified employee transfers;
• Agreed to pay claims in the aggregate amount of $383,986.99;
• Approved an extended leave of absence for four weeks for a district employee;
• Approved a medical leave of absence for a Rosspoint elementary teacher for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year;
• Approved a medical leave of absence for a Cumberland elementary teacher for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year;
• Approved a family/medical leave of absence for a James A. Cawood Elementary School teacher through the end of the 2012-2013 school year;
• Allowed the Family Resource and Youth Service Center coordinators to submit the 2014 Continuation Program plans to the state;
• Approved the Family Resource and Youth Service Centers contract with Premier Martial Arts for student assemblies;
• Approved second reading of changes to the district’s graduation requirement policy, permitting diplomas of basic, college preparatory and honors;
• Approved an out of state trip request for the Evarts Elementary Junior Beta Club and the fourth and fifth grade academic team to Orlando, Fla., using a charter bus;
• Approved Harlan County High School Winter Guard (band) trip to Sullivan South High School, Kingsport, Tenn., on March 16 for a competition;
• Approved Harlan County High School JROTC Raider Team out of state trip to Thomas Walker High School in Virginia on Jan. 26, provided the group obtains a third chaperon;
• Conducted a public forum to present a plan to improve school nutrition and physical activities in the school district.