School Board approves $19.8 million budget, lots of personnel moves

By JOEL McNEECE
The Calhoun County School Board approved a $19.8 million budget for fiscal year 2012 Monday night. Superintendent Mike Moore said the district has been cautioned the past three years that 2012 would be the “funding cliff,” meaning it’s the last of the three years with federal stimulus money included and projected to be the final year of “deep funding cuts.”

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By JOEL McNEECE
The Calhoun County School Board approved a $19.8 million budget for fiscal year 2012 Monday night. Superintendent Mike Moore said the district has been cautioned the past three years that 2012 would be the “funding cliff,” meaning it’s the last of the three years with federal stimulus money included and projected to be the final year of “deep funding cuts.”
“Hopefully things will turn around next year and we will see some of our funding return,” Moore said.
The district has been cut $2.8 million in state funding over the past three years. Federal stimulus money helped maintain some district jobs and programs, but some cuts were required and many positions weren’t filled following teacher retirements.
The district underwent numerous other cost-cutting measures such as consolidating bus routes, postponing bus purchases and planned capital improvements.
Through it all, Moore points out that state test scores have risen all three years and the school district “is in better financial shape than it has been in years.”
Moore said they have maintained the 7% fund balance required by the state that is now at $2.4 million. Those funds, which he said were only at $200,000 when he took office, have helped the district survive as funding cuts have continued in the middle of the school year.
Moore said if the state funding begins to return at prior levels in FY2013, it will be crucial for the district to make the most of it.
“As the money begins to come back we will have to look at how we can best benefit the students, improve test scores and aid the teachers without getting back into the same rut we were in before,” Moore said.
In other business from Monday’s meeting, Moore said the new Bruce Band Hall should be completed within the next two weeks.
“It’s going to be a beautiful building they will be proud of for a long time,” Moore said.
He spoke briefly of the $100,000 Kellogg grant the school district received that will be utilized to help elevate students in the proficient and advanced areas to the next level of state testing.
Cheryl Burnett of Bruce, Gerry Marshall of Calhoun City and Kayla Long at Vardaman have been hired to oversee the program at each school.
Moore said he has received state test scores from last year, but they are embargoed from being released to the public.
He said they are up from the previous year and the district does have some “outstanding schools” again.
Other actions of the board:
•Personnel- June Sturdivant retired as CCHS secretary; Ashley Clements transferred from CCES to BES into position vacated by Julia Aron; Whitney Bailey hired as classroom teacher replacing Clements; Jackie Logan hired as classroom teacher replacing Ann Langston; Lindsay Hastings hired as classroom teacher and intervention tutor replacing Brittany Amason who resigned; Tai Anne Bryant hired as teacher assistant replacing Hastings; Kayla Long hired as teacher assistant replacing Susan High; Larry Baker hired as classroom teacher; Josh Dowdy hired as classroom teacher replacing Allan Clarke; Alexandra Freeman hired as classroom teacher replacing Whitney White; Jacob Glasz hired as classroom teacher replacing Denise Wright; Kim Parker will transfer from BUES to CCMS; Alice McCormick transferred to position vacated by Tiffany Hendrix; Tania Nelson transferring to position vacated by McCormick;
Substitute teachers hired at BHS- Christi Stacy, Jacqueline Lynette Freelon, Don Ball, Juanita Norris, Linda Tedford, and Alison Tyler.
Substitute teachers hired at VHS- Bobby Bowman and Annelle Scott.
•Teachers and bus drivers approved for extended school year program- Casey Cooksey, Michelle Ruth, Claudia Gaston, Lovie Westmoreland.
•Student transfers- Connor Keith Spratlin and Preston Bullard from Houston to Calhoun; Sandrea Baker and Korey Vance from Coffeeville to Calhoun.
•Approved cancellation of 16th section land lease with the late Ruth Willis.
•Agreed to advertise for transportation supplies.
•Approved contracts with Addy Photography for BES and CCES.
•Approved MEMA state-local disaster assistance agreement and designated Superintendent Mike Moore as schools’ agent.
•BUES awarded $24,600 grant for installation of Project Fit America outdoor equipment.
•Approved for CCHS to apply for Weyerhaeuser and Wal-Mart grants for new school owned band instruments.
•Board set next meeting for July 25 at the BHS Band Hall.
•The meeting concluded with the board entering executive session to discuss a personnel matter and litigation.

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