By DAVID GREEN
Since May, the Fayette Board of Education approved budget cuts of nearly $327,000. During that same time, state support increased by only $40,000.
This points to the importance of the millage renewal request on the Nov. 8 ballot, superintendent Russ Griggs said at the Oct. 17 school board meeting.
Despite cuts in staff and salaries, the district desperately needs to maintain existing revenue to stay afloat.
Griggs said his main point to voters is that the levy is not a new tax, but only a renewal of what’s been paid for many years.
“It’s absolutely essential to the operation of the district,” Griggs said. “Failure to renew the levy would be catastrophic for the district. Even with passing the levy, due to decreasing revenue from the state, operation of the school district is going to be difficult financially, at best.”
District treasurer Kelly Bentley pointed out that Fayette’s average teacher salary and administrator salary is significantly below the state average, along with per-pupil spending.
“I think that says a lot for our district that we’re trying to be as conservative as we can,” she said.
Bentley told the board that an earlier projection called for Fayette to be one of 10 schools in the region to show a negative balance in 2013, but due to the staff cuts, the district should remain in the black until the 2014 school year.
Bentley said the district received a bonus of $17 per student from the state for achieving the “excellent” academic rating.
GIFT—The district is to receive 10 percent of the Nora (Nash) Smith trust for student scholarships. Smith graduated from Fayette in 1952 and then left the area. The amount is not yet known.
INSURANCE—Insurance costs will increase nine percent for the current school year. Despite a decision by staff members to pay more of the cost, the district will still pay an additional $26,000. That cost would have been much higher without the help from staff members, Bentley said.
DONATIONS—The Parent Support Group for the Class of 2012 donated $598 to purchase graduation caps and gowns.
The Fayette Athletic Boosters donated $4,900 to buy uniforms that will be worn by the cross country and track and field teams.
PLOWING—The board voted to accept a three-year contract with Jeff Keefer for snow removal. The contract calls for an increased cost due to the price of diesel fuel.
STAFF—Veronica Molina was approved as a substitute employee for several positions. Carolee Hartman resigned from her full-time bus driver job and was hired as a substitute driver.
Wendy Adams was hired to fill the dish washer preparation position for three hours a day.
Brian Keefer, Rodney Kessler and Heath Armstrong were approved as volunteers with the boys basketball program. Carrie Ueberroth will serve as elementary school student council advisor.