Rural Vista delays budget talks
By J.R. SPARKE
Contributor to Reflector-
HOPEŚWith the financial ramifications of the Affordable Care Act remaining unknown until later this month, Rural Vista Unified School District Board of Education members tabled discussion of the 2013-14 budget and certified staff negotiations until a regular July meeting when the group met Monday night at Hope.
Superintendent of Schools Ralph Blevins, responding to a question from board member Duane Blythe, said he was anticipating the district would be in good shape as far as the budget was concerned due to cuts which had been made. He did not elaborate on the nature of those cuts.
The superintendent suggested the board wait until the July meeting to begin negotiations. This would be after the date the cost for the ACA is known.
Student and personnel matters also were handled during the Monday night meeting.
The board granted requests for six pupils residing outside the district to attend classes at the White City attendance center this fall. They were: Jake Anderson, sophomore; Lane Fernlund, pre-kindergarten; Jhet Johnson, pre-kindergarten; Alli Lietzen, first grade; Tucker Lietzen, kindergarten; and Kyler Rose, pre-kindergarten.
A revised student handbook was approved on a 4-3 vote of the board. The motion on the matter included wording to continue to allow open lunch hours at the attendance centers. Board members did not share the same opinion on the issue.
White City Schools Principal Kate Robinson said block scheduling of classes were complete for the fall.
Mike Teeters, Hope Schools Principal Mike Teeter, said more work was needed as his attendance center, but that the process was being finalized.
The employment of four teachers new to the district fall was approved by the board. They were: Rachael Arkfeld, district vocational agriculture; Kane Henley, K-12 kindergarten at Hope; Darby Jones, White City High math; and Jessica Painter, Hope High business.
Supt. Blevins expressed his appreciation for the work of Robinson and Teeter in finding suitable candidates to fill the teaching positions.
Board members also took final action to non-renew the employment contract of Leland Lawrenz, industrial arts teacher at White City.
A pay increase for substitute teachers was approved by the board in an effort to attract more persons. The new rate is $90 per day. The amount will increase to $100 per day after a person has substituted in the district for 20 days, which do not have to be consecutive school days. Half-day pay will be one-half of the full-time amounts.
The district had been paying $70 for full-day substitute teachers and $35 for half-day substitutes.
Supt. Blevins said most area school districts were offering higher rates than those, such as $85 for full-day substitute teachers.
The employment contracts of all current classified staff members were renewed with the exception of Dawn Johnson, a cook at Hope. It was noted the kitchen staff at the attendance center was being reduced to two persons.
The board approved a revised job description for the board secretary/treasurer, which has become a part-time position. Barb Stroda is currently employed in the position.
There will be an increase in meal prices in the school district for the coming year. The new amounts will be a hike of 10 cents in each category. The categories and new prices follow: Breakfast -- K-12, $1.60; and adults, $1.70. Lunch -- K-5, $2.45; 6-12, $2.60; and adults, $3.35.
Board members approved the renewal of property insurance policy with Tyner Insurance, which has offices in Council Grove and Wamego. The 2013-14 premium will be $115,237, compared to $102,104 this past year.
Supt. Blevins said he wanted to meet with a couple of board members to discuss the district's insurance needs with emphasis on insuring outbuildings. It was his opinion that some of those structures were over-insured. However, he wanted input from board members before making any suggestions. The two board members will be determined at a later date.
Meeting dates and times for the 2013-14 school term were set. The sessions will continue to be at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month on a rotating basis between Hope and White City.
The superintendent, board clerk and board secretary/treasurer were give the authority by the board to commit the unencumbered budget of the general fund for the current school year to cash disbursements and transfers to the extent the action benefits the cash flow of the district. This is a routine matter handle annually during the June board meeting.
In another routine matter, the board approved the disposing of old records in accordance with governmental guidelines. Payroll records may be disposed of after seven years, while other records may be disposed of after five years.
In a matter left unfinished from the regular May meeting, the board approved a bid of $6,640 for two buses, three Suburbans and one car sold through the Purple Wave auction service.
The board's next regularly scheduled meeting is slated Monday, July 8, at the Hope Schools library.