Friday, March 25, 2011

USD 383 Board of Education

March 16, 2011
Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Work session:
The work session focused on the construction project at Roosevelt Elementary. All of the bids submitted were over budget, so administration recommended transferring savings from the Ogden and Northview projects so that the Roosevelt project can move forward and not have to be rebid. The board will have the ability to negotiate with the contractor and find savings after the contract has been awarded.

Regular meeting:
Dr. Tiffany Powell, Diversity Coordinator, presented a report on the district's diversity initiatives. Dr. Powell's report indicated that student achievement for minorities has significantly improved in math and reading.

The board discussed with Mike Mayo, the architect who developed the overall building improvements for the district, why bids are coming in higher now than earlier bids. Board members had been concerned that projects were being designed to use the maximum funds budgeted instead of designing according to needs. Mayo said that projects are being designed according to what was specified, and some spaces are simply more costly to renovate than others. Mayo said that the average of all of the projects together is still a little under budget.

The board returned to the discussion of the Roosevelt project begun during the work session. Walt Pesaresi felt the board needed to discuss its philosophy for using project savings. Pesaresi thought the board had agreed to put project savings in a "lock box" and didn't think the board had agreed to use savings from one school to support the project at another school. Doug Messer said that certain projects will go over budget, and the board should use project savings judiciously and not delay the Roosevelt project. The board approved 7-0 to use project savings from Ogden and Northview for the Roosevelt project so it can move forward.

Board members reviewed the calendar for the 2011-12 school year. A float work day was moved from Jan. 3 to Jan. 2, which then allowed a professional development day to be moved from Jan. 4 to Jan. 3. The inclement weather make-up days will be Saturday, May 19, and Friday, May 25. Pesaresi thought students will not come to school on a Saturday to make up a snow day. Other board members were also hesitant to list a Saturday as a make-up day. The state requires the calendar to reflect possible make-up days, but the board could add additional minutes to the school day or use May 25 instead. The board approved the calendar 7-0.

Board members also discussed potential funding decreases from the state. The base per pupil funding may be reduced by $75, which would mean a reduction of $562,000 for USD 383.