GIBSON CITY — The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school board on Monday night approved a deficit budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which began July 1.
Superintendent Jeremy Darnell reviewed budget highlights during a public hearing preceding Monday’s board meeting. Darnell said the budget showed “almost identical” figures to last year’s budget.
With no members of the public present, the hearing lasted three minutes.
Seven of the district’s nine funds are projected to have more expenses than revenues, with the education fund projected to have the largest deficit of $287,850. Projected receipts for the education fund total $9,312,700, and expenses are projected at $9,600,550. Salaries and benefits comprise $8,121,050 of the education fund’s expenses.
Only the working cash and fire prevention and safety funds are budgeted this year to have positive fund balances of $63,300 and $35,000, respectively.
Despite the deficit spending, the district’s overall fund balances remain in the black due to accumulated reserves. Fund balances at the end of the current fiscal year are projected to be as follows: $3,141,417 for education; $1.177,815 for operations and maintenance; $120,347 for debt service; $472,752 for transportation; $119,215 for municipal retirement and Social Security; $273,518 for capital projects; $1,620,350 for working cash; $914,846 for tort, and $167,448 for fire prevention and safety.
The district’s total receipts from local sources is $5,832,200, including property taxes ($4,812,000) and corporate personal property replacement taxes ($390,000). Total receipts from state sources are $2,829,500 for education and $370,000 for transportation. Investment income is projected to be $250,000.
Following a 15-minute closed session, board members:
➜ Hired Alisha Ramirez as a paraprofessional beginning Sept. 30, with initial assignment in kindergarten.
➜ Approved volunteer coaches for winter sports as follows: Sidney Overman and Dave Dornbusch (girls’ basketball); A.J. Richard (boys’ basketball); and Chris Miller, Grant Horsch, Aaron Carter and Jacob Franklin (wrestling).
➜ Accepted the resignation of Erica Kostoff as the high school track coach. Kostoff will remain as high school English teacher.
➜ Accepted the resignation of Karen Fairley, a math interventionist at the elementary school, effective Dec. 31, 2019.
Also Monday night:
➜ The building and grounds committee set a meeting for Dec. 4 to review initial findings from the architectural firm engaged to review the district’s facilities. After that, the strategy and enrichment group will consider alignment of district goals with facility use. The goal will be to consider any necessary building improvements or realignment at the beginning of 2020.
➜ The board approved rental of district facilities for community open basketball on Sunday evenings from October through May. Various building facilities were approved to be used by the youth wrestling program.
➜ Fifteen policies were distributed to board members for the first reading. The policies will be considered for approval at an October board meeting.
➜ Reports from building principals showed high school enrollment at 303 students, with 224 students at the middle school and 478 at the elementary school.
➜ GCMS High School Principal Chris Garard said about 40 parents attended a special night for parents of freshman and driver education students.
➜ GCMS Elementary School Principal Justin Kean noted that participation in new parent orientation was reduced this year to 63 percent, although he was not sure why. Kean said he appreciated new camera upgrades that are providing much clearer pictures.
➜ Ford County Special Education Cooperative Director Jesse McFarling said the district’s special education program is following a new state law that requires earlier notice of individual education plan (IEP) contents to parents prior to their initial conference with educators. He said the recent change gives parents more time to review information — but less time for teachers to evaluate the student’s needs prior to preparing the IEP.
➜ Erin Nuss, the district’s curriculum coordinator, said there had been a positive response from newly hired teachers, with all having their biographies now posted on a district Facebook page (#IChoseGCMS). She said 77 teachers are participating in the district’s book club on educational topics. The district is in the midst of a science curriculum study.