Rector School Board Meets

Thursday, September 13, 2018

During the Rector School Board’s monthly meeting, held Sept. 10, in the administration building, the board turned its attention to budgets. The Title I budget which delineates how Title I funds are distributed was reviewed. The funds are used to pay salaries for teachers and classroom aides who were hired under Title I programs. The ALE budget is used to pay salary for the ALE (Alternative Learning Environment) coordinator. This teacher’s responsibility is the oversight of the Special Education services provided for children in the district.

According to the Arkansas Department of Education web site, NSLA funding, also known as school poverty funding, is the part of the state-funding package for schools that serve a large number of low-income students. It is named NSLA after the National School Lunch Act program. The number of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches in each school district is used to set the NSLA funding level for that district. That money is then used to provide programs and services to benefit low-income students. For the Rector School District, the allocated funds are used exclusively for teacher salaries and portions of salaries.

Title VI-B funds are used not only for salaries but for physical and occupational therapy sessions, speech pathology services, salary supplements for the supervisor of psychological services, early childhood services, and staff training. State and Local special services budget showed a savings in some categories with the Special Education Director’s position being partially funded with this allocation of funds.

Title IIA funds will be divided equally between high school and elementary professional development training. Some of the Professional Development funds were spent during the 2018 summer to pay teachers for their participation over the summer in workshops required for professional development.

Title IV funds are divided between the elementary and high school for Red Ribbon programming which provides focused education regarding drug usage and its hazards. Another small portion of the funds are used to pay portions of the high school concurrent credit program.

Technology funds (REAP) are divided into fixed assets and technology supplies, the bulk of the funds being set aside for technology replacement or repair over the school year. The ARMAC funds assist in funding the school nurse program for the district. Each of these budget areas was approved as presented.

During the remaining portion of the budget review, Superintendent Fowler presented the Operation and Maintenance Budget. It reflects the budgeted amount for FY18, the YTD Expenses FY18, and the New Budget amount for FY19. Overall, the FY19 budget is more realistic in that it makes provision for additional professional development training, recognizes funds which will be necessary for maintaining the athletic complex and football field, acknowledges the rising costs for general supplies and software purchases along with expenses for new technology and hardware. Property insurance shows a significant increase as does gasoline/diesel fuel. Funds to pay substitute teachers was allocated at a higher level and the budget reflects the purchase of a new school bus. The budget for textbooks, which will always be a line item, increases because the core subject areas all experienced textbook adoption this year. The adoptions are chosen for a three year period. The board and the principals have stated that RSD will supply hard copy textbooks for students because, while students have chrome books for use at school and at home, some students do not have internet access. The cost of access to content is linked to textbook companies’ software programs.

The total operating and maintenance budget for FY19 is $829,050 which is right in line with the amount spent during FY18. This budget does not include salaries nor are federal funds included in this budget. The quorum of the school board approved the operation and maintenance budget and each of the other budgets as presented. Kirk Ford was the only member not present.

Superintendent Fowler gave the fund balance report with the operating fund being $1,362,956.58, the building fund balance is $1,458,000. Adding school lunch program funding and federal funding to the balance brings the grand total to $2,929,735.67.

In a general report from high school principal Nate Henderson, he noted the school year was well underway, this being the fifth week. He also mentioned the excitement around the KFIN morning show broadcasting Sept. 7, at the school gym.

“Brandon says he circles our date on the calendar because Rector is one of his favorite schools to broadcast from,” he offered.

Elementary principal Anthony Dowdy commented about grandparents’ week and about the magician performance Sept. 11. He further noted that the 21st Century Grant programming will begin on Monday, Sept. 24.

In concluding business, the board approved the contracts for Diane Burdin and Candy Mitchell as full-time employees in the cafeteria and for Brittany Brummel who is hired as a new pre-school aide to serve the new classroom at the pre-school.

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