Local News

Holcomb transfers funds to cover bills

Holcomb USD 363 will transfer $38,307.81 into its general fund from other district funds to pay December bills, Superintendent Demitry Evancho told the Board of Education on Monday night.

Date: 12/15/2009

Posted by Holcomb USD #363 on 12/22/2009


By MONICA SPRINGER

mspringer@gctelegram.com

The district has to transfer funds because the state is late on payments to school districts. Once the state aid comes in January, the school district will replace the money in the other accounts it borrowed from, Evancho said.

The budget was a main topic at the meeting, with the superintendent saying the situation with school funding right now is as bleak as he's seen.

Holcomb has lost $562,045 in state aid in 2009, Evancho said. Had the district received the amount of state aid it was promised, USD 363 would have an operating budget of $7,019,760. Instead, it has a budget of $6,457,715.

Evancho said Holcomb is in danger of losing more aid in the future. If school districts have at least 4 percent of students who are at-risk, the school district receives extra state aid because it costs more to educate those kids. He said Holcomb made the at-risk density by two students.

If the enrollment shifts at Holcomb and two students who take the bus or receive free lunches move out of the district, the district stands to lose more in state aid.

The district will know after its February audit if it will lose more aid.

"This is happening to us, and it's out of our control," Evancho said.

He said it's important to praise teachers and remind them that the budget is his and the board's responsibility, not theirs.

The budget also was a concern when the board talked about charging the Holcomb Recreation Commission a fee when it uses USD 363's facilities for practices.

The decision will be postponed until Evancho, members of the Board of Education, HRC Director Eric Jantz and members of the HRC Board of Directors can meet to further discuss the issue.

Based on the amount that it takes to maintain the district's gyms, Evancho came up with a figure of $24,000 to charge the HRC. That figure, Evancho said, comes from estimating it costs $531,000 to maintain Holcomb Elementary School and Wiley Elementary School, which the HRC uses. Evancho said he estimated that HRC uses gyms for practices and games for about 4 percent of the overall use, which comes out to about $24,000.

Evancho and several board members said they are willing to work with the HRC on the proposed fees.

After the HRC and the school district meet, the topic will be brought up again at a future meeting.

The board decided to charge traveling sports teams $30 to use the facilities for four hours or more, or $15 for less than four hours. The traveling teams, which include Holcomb students, have to leave the facilities like they found them in good condition, and USD 363 will clean the facilities.

The board also:

* Heard an update from Evancho regarding the first grade and Title 1 positions. To save the district about $30,000, the district shifted a first-grade teacher into an open Title 1 position, which uses money from the federal government funneled through the state.

The 57 first-grade students will have three teachers instead of four. The class size will grow from 14 students to 18 or 19, Evancho said.

Phil Keidel, principal at Holcomb and Wiley elementary schools, said he talked to the first-graders about the change, which will happen in January, and also sent letters to parents explaining the change.

* Received its 2008-2009 audit from Kennedy McKee and Co. LLP, Dodge City. Nothing significant was found, said Patrick Friess, of the firm.

At the recommendation of the audit, USD 363 will add two new funds. The HRC, whose tax dollars flow through the school district's budget, currently has a general fund, and auditors said they wanted to see a separate fund for employee benefits. USD 363 also will add a textbook revolving fund. All of the fees that come in at the grade schools, middle school and high school will go to the central office into the textbook fund and will be used to purchase books, Evancho said.

* Hired Kimberly Headrick, fifth-grade teacher; Gloria Santoya, food service; and Michelle Brown, crossing guard.

* Accepted the resignations of Shelly Van Cleave, high school volleyball coach, and Jennifer Ruvalcalba, food service.