Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 28, 2014

Finances look bright for school

By DIANE VANCE | Nov 20, 2013

Fairfield Community School District continues to work on improving its financial standing and Superintendent Art Sathoff said the district realized $148,877 in personnel turnover savings this school year.

Last school year, the state appropriated zero percent allowable growth funding to school districts and Fairfield had to hire an additional 4.39 full-time equivalent special education associates than the previous year.

“This year overall our staff is down 1.32 full-time equivalent personnel and we had $148,877 in turnover savings,” said Sathoff at Monday’s school board meeting.

“Open enrollment is up by 19 this year and allowable growth is 4 percent for next year,” he said. “We’ve made budget progress during the same period that we’ve started a Career Academy, started a behavior program [Young House], completed a major geothermal air handling system project [at Fairfield Middle School] and begun a huge high school renovation/addition project with an 84.7 percent voter approval. I’m proud the school board has moved these projects forward.”

Sathoff outlined more progress in the district.

“We continue to strengthen our educational program and our financial position,” he said. “We continue to watch financial health indicators closely — our solvency ration or our cash position, is strong even with a major school tax reduction last year.

“Declining enrollment is a concern though the negative long-term trend is decelerating,” said Sathoff. “Open enrollment is trending positive and economic development in the city is promising.”

Upon recommendation of district business manager Kim Sheets, the board approved a modified allowable growth request of $83,399 to the School Budget Review Committee.

“Each year we’re allowed to make a request to SBRC for additional current costs in three specific areas,” said Sheets.

The allowable areas are: Increasing enrollment, which doesn’t apply to FCSD; open enrollment out — students not on last year’s count, which FCSD is claiming $78,013; and Limited English Proficiency – students served beyond five years, which FCSD is claiming $5,386.

“This is for additional spending authority,” said Sheets. “We’re already spending the money and if we spend beyond our authority, we get even less authority. So this doesn’t bring more money into the district, it just allows us to keep authority up to what our costs are.”

In other business, the board:

• Accepted the proposal from Agriland FS Inc. as the district’s fuel provider through June 30, 2015. Agriland’s markup above Iowa Department of Transportation’s pricing is $ 0.0087 per gallon for both diesel and gasohol. The markup includes delivery charge.

Auxiliary Services Director Fred McElwee received three quotes for fuel and Agriland’s was the lowest bid. The other bids were Cobb Oil Co. Inc. at $ 0.014 markup per gallon and Farmer’s Coop Association’s bid was $ 0.08 markup per gallon. Both Agriland and Cobb Oil also bid $ 0.02 cost per gallon for a winter additive; Farmer’s Coop did not submit a cost for a winter additive.

• Approved two more teachers as mentors to new teachers, years 1 and 2 for the 2013-14 school year — Luyre Sobaski and Rosemary Weiss, to be paid a total of $1,000 each.

• Approved Jeff Crile for girls basketball and Jeff Courtright for wrestling as volunteer coaches this year.

• Accepted the resignation of Michelle Henderson as middle school cheerleading coach for both first and second basketball seasons.

• Approved hiring Summer Lisk for middle school cheerleading coach for both first and second basketball seasons.

• Approved hiring Beth Payne for high school wrestling cheerleading coach.

• Approved the resignation of Fairfield Community School District Board of Director member Amy Miller, effective Monday.

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