head: School board expected to approve $40 million budget
WHO: Summit School Board
WHAT: Regular meeting
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., today
WHERE: Central administration offices, School Road, Frisco
FRISCO – School board members are scheduled to vote tonight on a $40 million budget that will take effect July 1. The budget comprises a $23.7 million general fund for school programs, teacher salaries and other operating costs; an $8.5 million special building, maintenance and technology fund created after voters approved a November mill levy; and, transportation, capital, food service and other funds.
The budget details nearly $3 million in increased spending for teacher salaries, additional faculty and program support. Additional expenses are planned for teachers and support staff (approximately $1.53 million), $190,000 for extra paraprofessionals and teachers, and more than $670,000 to improve or expand programs for English-learners, special and gifted education and full-day kindergartens.
The school district will benefit from extra revenues that are the result of state school funding increases and the property tax mill levy.
Tied to the budget appropriations is a resolution to issue tax anticipation notes. Because the school district is funded through property taxes, it does not begin receiving that money until the county treasurer collects taxes, typically in November. In addition, state funding formulas are based on student enrollment counts, which are not completed until Oct. 1. Because of these two factors, the school district must borrow money until tax money is collected.
The school district benefits, however, from a legal form of arbitrage: The tax anticipation notes are issued at a low interest rate (usually about 3 percent) and the school district invests the borrowed money at a higher rate. Summit Schools Superintendent Wes Smith said the school district earns about $25,000 through the financing arrangement.
Other school board agenda items:
n School board members will hear a proposal to allow some high school students to change grades that originally were Fs to Ds. Last year, the high school changed its grading scale: The old scale required a 93 percent for an A, 85 for a B, 75 for a C, and anything below 65 percent was failing. The new scale is 90-80-70-60. Jim Wheeler, a former school board member and a parent of a high school student, questioned the equity of a transition plan in implementing the new scale. Students who earned a 63 percent on the old scale (a failing grade), for example, had their scores changed on their transcripts to a failing number on the new scale. Wheeler argued that grades for students who earned borderline B-C grades were not changed in the same fashion. In some cases, grades in fact could have been changed from a C to a B.
“The solution is we’re going to allow students in that failing margin to work with teachers next fall and have the chance to recover that credit,” Smith said. “They’ll have to make a plan that would give them the opportunity to do more work in the class they failed, and if they do it successfully, they can go from the F to a D. It gives the kids a chance and creates a little sense of equity, but it doesn’t give them a passing grade for nothing.”
n The school board also is scheduled to vote on a revised student conduct code and disciplinary handbook, which contains a new policy on harassment based on sexual orientation, as well as specific definitions of offenses and consequences.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or email@example.com.
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