School Board Handles Money Matters

The moving of funds from one account to another was at the forefront of Thursday night’s meeting of the District #18 Board of Education.
In a meeting which lasted less than an hour, the board paid forward on utility bills; and transferred funds to a number of different accounts.
As has been customary in past years, the board approved paying forward electric and gas bills. This time around, board members unanimously approved paying $45,000 towards electric bills and another $25,000 on gas bills for the 2015/16 school year.
Transfers made during the meeting were:
• $40,000 to the school lunch fund
* $65,000 to the school activities fund
• $130,000 to the employee benefit fund
• $100,000 to the depreciation fund
Superintendent Dan Polk said money placed in the employee benefit fund could be used as part of a retirement package in future years. Last year the board offered an early retirement package to qualifying teachers, but there were no takers. It’s not clear whether or not the early retirement package will be offered this year.
On another financial matter, the board approved moving $2,500 from the EPS activities fund to a Wolfpack activities fund for the start of the school year.
Earlier in the meeting, both Polk and Principal Greg Wemhoff gave reports to the board.
Polk said work continues on preparation of the 2015/16 school budget. A major step forward in preparation of the budget will take place on Thursday when valuation figures are released by county assessors in Boone, Antelope and Wheeler Counties.
While those numbers are yet to be disclosed, Polk did say district patrons should see a substantial decrease in the tax levy due, in part, to an increase of $49,000 in state aid to education; and more than $500,000 received by the district in the form of a nameplate capacity tax from electricity generated by Prairie Breeze Wind Energy.
“We won’t need as much revenue from the property tax side,” Polk said. It’s possible, he added, that the school district might have a lower tax asking which may rank among the 10 lowest in the state.
In other remarks, Polk said the school now has a Twitter account (@ElginPublic) to provide info about school activities on a regular basis. “I think it’s a real positive thing,” he said about Twitter.
Wemhoff updated board members on extra duty assignments. He said all are the same with the exception being Michael Becker who will serve as assistant boys basketball coach. As of yet, no one has been hired to serve in the position of golf coach, replacing Jacob Sladky who held the position for a number of years.
Approximately 20 male students are out for football this year, Wemhoff said, and the number of volleyball players could be as high as 30.
A Wolfpack varsity football scrimmage will be held Saturday morning, Aug. 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Admission to the scrimmage will be a sports drink (Gatorade, etc.). A similar scrimmage for the volleyball team will be Monday evening, Aug. 31.
In other action:
Awards — Board members’ Steve Busteed, Robert Hoefer and Doug Jones are to receive awards from the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB) next month.
Signatures — Polk said all the documents involved in negotiations with the Elgin Education Association have been signed.
Software — The board approved an expenditure of approximately $2,850 for software and materials for students to use as part of a high school STEM class.
First reading — At the suggestion of the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB), school board members approved on first reading updates on a number of school policies dealing with such matters as digital records for meeting updates, equal opportunity employment, facilities, certificated & support employees recruitment and selection and bidding procedures.
The recommendations were made to be in response to changes in state laws made by the Nebraska Unicameral which would go into effect.
The policies would need to be read two more times before becoming part of the school’s policies.
Dates set — The next regular meeting of the school board will be Wednesday, Sept. 9, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the start of the regular meeting, public hearings will be held on the proposed 2015/16 school budget (7 p.m.) and proposed budget levy (7:15 p.m.).