April 6, 2011
Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
The work session focused on the construction project at Bluemont Elementary. During construction, a temporary parking lot will be put in place on the south side of the building, and the option of making the temporary lot permanent had been explored. The city had indicated it would not allow a permanent parking lot on the south side because traffic on Bluemont Ave. would be negatively impacted by cars turning into the parking lot.
Following the Bluemont discussion, the board also reviewed a few of the factors that will affect the budget, such as state funding being reduced to $3,780 per pupil, projected enrollment increasing by 210 students, transportation costs increasing, federal stimulus dollars ending, salary increases, and revenue from new facility weighting resulting from the completed construction projects.
The board reviewed a report on gifted education. Students have to score at the 95th percentile in at least one subject area or at the 97th percentile on an IQ test in order to qualify for services. Usha Reddi, elementary teacher, addressed the board about her concerns about a potential economic gap. Bluemont and Ogden, both schools with families with lower incomes, had the fewest number of students qualifying for gifted services.
Board members discussed the option of a new gym floor for Lee Elementary. Lee's construction project had experienced unforeseen expenses (new fire lane and new water main) that had caused the gym floor to not be bid as part of the construction project to reduce costs. Now that the project is 50% complete, the project manager was confident that there were enough contingency funds available to complete the gym floor. All of the other elementary schools are scheduled to receive new gym floors, so board members had not wanted Lee to be the only school to not get one. Susan Marshall wondered if the gym floor was a priority for the school or if there were other items that had been deleted from the project that might be a higher priority. The board approved the gym floor 6-1 with Marshall dissenting.
The board was presented information regarding the creation of a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) at MHS. An application to create a program usually takes 2-3 years to be approved, so a program would not begin until the 2013-14 or 2014-15 school years. The district's cost for the program in the initial year would be $100,000 and then would be $88,500 for subsequent years. Pete Paukstelis asked whether MHS faculty were supportive of starting a JROTC program, and Terry McCarty, MHS principal, reported that the faculty were supportive but concerned about the logistics of budget and space for the program. The district will have the ability to back out of the application process before 2014. The board approved 7-0 to pursue the JROTC application process.