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Purdy R-2 votes to adopt cautious budget for 2010-11

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Purdy R-2 Board of Education adopted a budget calling for "adequate but cautious" spending for the 2010-11 school year at the board's June meeting.

"Budget reductions, rising costs of providing partial medical insurance for employees and the unsettled availability of funds on the state level brought about by a later-than-usual decision by the state legislature and governor pertaining to funding for the Basic School Formula make this an unusually difficult year to make plans for budget revenues and expenditures," stated Superintendent Jerry Lingo in his budget message.

Lingo indicated enrollment at Purdy has dropped over the past three years, leading to less state support and impacting what the district can offer.

"In continually striving to provide the best educational experience for our students that we possibly can under the restrictions imposed by the funding liabilities that we continue to face, we must always be cognizant of decisions that will give us the best chance to succeed in our quest," Lingo wrote.

Enrollment remains a big question for the coming year. An increase at the high school is expected, but Elementary Principal Jeff Swadley said preschool screenings have been running around half the typical numbers for kindergarten.

The budget's bottom line called for increasing the ending balance for the year by around $128,000. Getting there will require a number of measures:

* Staffing will stay at minimal levels. Physical education teacher Chris Kennedy, for example, took a position with another district and his position was not going to be filled. There will be one high school physical education teacher in the fall, with additional duties picked up by the middle school PE teacher.

* A number of aide positions remain vacant. Swadley said at least four in the past six years at the elementary level have not been filled, preparing for the day when funds would be tighter.

* The district's transportation budget is expected to be reduced by around 30 percent this coming year. A driver and route were cut last year. Lingo expects to park one of the leased buses during the 2010-11 school year.

The board was able to allocate funds for salary raises, adding a step to the salary schedule for all certified staff. Aides, the school nurse, building secretaries and cooks got a $250 increase. Custodians received a 15-cent hourly wage hike. Central office staff got a $500 increase. The principals and superintendent received a $1,000 raise. Total wage increases added $47,159 to the spending total for next year.

Program reviews

Swadley briefed the board on results seen at the end of the second year of the Vision Intervention Tutoring program for kindergarten, first and second grade students. Sixty students who were found to have difficulty with hand-eye coordination or visual tracking have received regular sessions with tutors to address issues that could affect reading or other learning skills.

The program costs no more than $550 annually, Swadley said, and students have shown marked improvement. It's unclear if kindergarteners have enough physical development yet to benefit significantly from the program. Swadley said the staff was trying to determine if the program would be more effective adding third grade or dropping kindergarten altogether.

High School Principal Bob Vice briefed the board on the district's dual credit policy, which allows students to earn college credits for classes taken in high school. Purdy offers 35 credits worth of college courses that students can take on-line during the school day. Vice's proposal granted weighted credits to specific courses approved by the district as rigorous.

The board approved the policy. Vice said it would be up to students to meet college admission standards. Paying for the classes was outlined in the policy. Around five students were expected to take advantage of the program next year.

Administrative action

The board agreed to a new policy that gives custodians who have worked for the district for 10 years a third week of vacation.

Judy Holle and Martha Berry were hired as food service cooks for the coming year.

Extra duty contracts were awarded for the coming year. Major changes include Tommy Egan taking over as high school boys basketball coach. Stephanie Ray will be the new middle school and high school volleyball coach. Ray will also take on assistant coaching duties in softball under head coach Swadley.

The next board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 19.

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