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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Verona School Board reviews school preparations

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A funding squeeze is anticipated for the coming year at the Verona R-7 School District. Superintendent William Sweet reported higher savings that may be needed to offset lower revenue.

Assessed valuation in the district dropped by $2.5 million, Sweet said, due to a local company that changed owners, prompting a one-year spike in personal property taxes. Local property tax collections were also below average, with only 77 percent of taxpayers meeting their obligations.

Sweet expected the district would receive $75,000 less in local taxes in the coming year. Electricity costs increased by more than $9,200 during the year. The fuel increase was largely offset by natural gas costs running $5,500 less than had been budgeted, due to the mild winter.

Sweet anticipated the district would close the 2011-12 fiscal year with reserves in the unrestricted general fund of about 50 percent, up six percent from the previous year. Over the past seven years, savings have increased by over 10 percent. A more complete assessment would be available in August following the annual audit.

Board members voted to keep meal prices the same for the coming year. Breakfast will cost 80 cents for students and $1 for adults. Lunch will be $1.25 for kindergarten to sixth grade, $1.50 for older students and $2 for adults.

The annual tax levy hearing was scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16, prior to the regular meeting.

Filling personnel positions, the board hired Vanessa Arguelles as an English as a second language aide. Arguelles is moving to the area from Texas.

The conflict of interest ordinance was readopted. The policy keeps individual board members from making specific disclosures to the state.

In closed session, the board approved three early graduations.

Administrative reports

Melvey Hillhouse, the district's Parents as Teachers director and supervisor of the volunteer pre-school, summarized her annual activities. Hillhouse worked with 81 families and found 69 with high needs. Hillhouse provided services to 119 children, making almost 300 home visits. Only two families on the waiting list had no home visits. A total of 133 children were screened, from which 24 with developmental delays were referred for further evaluation.

The district's preschool served 27 children with two separate classes. Three field trips were held. Hillhouse said the number of children served had increased and she expected to offer two classes next school year.

A cruise-in is planned for Aug. 4 as a fundraiser for the Parents as Teachers program on the school grounds, beginning at 5 p.m. The event will include a carnival, live music and a barbecue brisket dinner.

Board members approved Sweet's report on the custodial, food service, aides and secretaries. Support services cost the district $396,391 in salaries and benefits. Goals of maintaining a smooth, safe and healthy operation have been met, according to student and parent surveys. Personnel changes have improved efficiency and effectiveness.

Policy changes

A number of policy changes were approved. Student abuse reports will now be provided to county law enforcements. New law dictated foster children will be placed in courses based on placement in previous schools.

CPR training is now authorized for high school students. Staff in safety sensitive positions will be prohibited from using cell phones while on-duty.

Government regulations now limit service animal status to dogs and miniature horses. Therapy dogs are not required to be present on school property, Sweet said. The Children's Internet Protection Act mandates annual training for all students on Internet safety. DVDs and other material geared at different grade levels will be available prior to the start of school.

Sweet reported that for the first time in several years, maintenance crews have no building construction projects this summer. Painting and floor maintenance is underway and new scoreboards are in place.

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