Local News

Holcomb to shift funds to cover expenses

HOLCOMB -- The status of the 2010 budget and payment of bills will be a topic Monday at the next Holcomb USD 363 Board of Education meeting.

Date: 12/12/2009

Posted by Holcomb USD #363 on 12/14/2009


By MONICA SPRINGER

mspringer@gctelegram.com

It will be discussed because the state of Kansas is late to its payments to public schools, and Holcomb will have to shift funds from various accounts to its general fund to pay December bills.

The state will disperse aid in January, said Demitry Evancho, USD 363 superintendent. Evancho said once the school district gets the state aid, it will replenish the funds it borrowed from.

Evancho called the current budget situation facing Kansas school districts the greatest challenge he has faced in a long time. He will update the Board of Education on the matter on Monday night.

Holcomb USD 363 has lost $562,045 from budget cuts in 2009. Evancho said the district is making that up in a variety of ways: cutting back on travel, filling vacancies in-house instead of hiring a substitute teacher and not filling one teaching position through attrition.

A fifth-grade position that was open will be filled, he said, and a first-grade teacher will move to a Title 1 position, which uses federal dollars allocated through the state instead of coming out of general funds.

That will save the district, Evancho said, because the first-grade position won't be filled. Now, three first-grade teachers in Holcomb will have 56 kids total, which will increase the class size from 14 with four teachers to 18 or 19 with three teachers, he said.

Evancho said the first-grade teachers will be effective at teaching the larger classes.

He also said he would examine every opportunity to reduce the school district's costs.

The board also will hear audit results from Kennedy McKee and Company.

In unfinished business, the board will look at a facility use agreement policy. Evancho said that under the current agreement, traveling sports teams are allowed to use USD 363's facilities at no charge. But a proposed change in the facility use agreement could mean that traveling teams may be charged a fee to use gymnasiums.

Evancho said it's a topic that board members might disagree on.

"It's just difficult," he said.

He added that the school district is looking for revenue wherever it can find it and that other entities are charged if they use USD 363's facilities.

Evancho said the board could be asked to sit on a decision until the January board meeting.