$410K deficit in 2019-20 expected

The Stockton R-I school board approved a budget for the 2019-20 school year which anticipates a net loss of nearly $410,000 during its regularly meeting Wednesday, June 26, at Stockton Middle School.

Dr. Shannon Snow, district superintendent, presented a budget with expected revenues of $9,754,394 and expenditures of $10,169,372, a deficit of $409,978.

Revenue from local sources are projected to decrease for a second year in a row. The FY20 budget calls for $4,546,541 in local revenues, down from $4,554,584 in FY19 and $4,831,666 in FY18. By contrast, state revenue should be on the upswing, from $3,853,191 in FY19 to $4,077,127 in FY20. County revenues will be about $50,000 higher, from $95,157 in FY19 to $146,500 in FY20. Federal revenues are down slightly, from $1,040,942 in FY19 to $985,727 in FY20.

“Decreased revenue from local sources is primarily due to fluctuations in collection rates,” Snow noted in her proposal. “The increased amount of state funding is because of a projection of full funding and an increase in summer 2019 school numbers. However, enrollment is still below levels of three to five years ago and this will be a major factor in the budget over the coming years.”

Just over 70% of expenditures will be earmarked for salaries and benefits. Salaries total $5,360,690 and benefits are $1,801,989. Certified staff will get a $500 raise while paraprofessionals will get a $240 raise. Other expenditures include $1,287,883 for supplies and materials, $765,605 for purchased services, $674,037 for long- and short-term debt and $279,173 for capital outlay.

The budget passed 6-0, with Bill Crabtree, Dianna Saathoff, Eddie Johnson, Dave Steinmuller, Michelle Pate and Phyllis Rutledge all voting in favor. Billy Bruce was absent.

The board also approved the purchase of two school buses. The district typically replaces one bus per year, but an accident in May made a second purchase necessary. The buses, both Thomas Built makes sold by Midwest Bus Sales, are a 2019 model with 77-passenger capacity and 4,000 miles on it for $75,750 and a 2015 model with 71-passenger capacity and 31,800 miles on it for $51,200.

Also unanimously passed were two new policies regarding the use of medical marijuana, which will be added to student and staff handbooks.

Policy 2871 prohibits any employee other than the caregiver to their own child from administering marijuana to students. The policy also encourages caregivers to administer the drug at home when it is least likely to affect school behavior.

Policy 4870 prohibits staff from being in possession of, distributing, being under the influence of, or administering marijuana to students. Employees certified for medical marijuana are free to use the drug away from school and school activities. However, if an employee tests positive because of a pre-school use, they will be subject to disciplinary action. District employees required by the Department of Transportation to be tested for drugs and alcohol are not permitted to use marijuana at any time.

Saathoff questioned the need for medical marijuana on campus, and whether it could lead to further legal problems for the district.

“Is there any reason there’s a medical need that requires them to have it with them?” Saathoff asked.

“It’s an unknown territory right now, the whole thing,” Steinmuller said.

“Right, I was just curious to know if it would open us up to some other kind of lawsuit,” Saathoff said. “You know, [someone could say] ‘You won’t allow me to have this and I need on my person in case of an emergency.’ I realize it’s not like insulin or an inhaler, but…”
“I think this will be litigated,” Snow interjected. “We will get updates and things as it’s litigated, but I think probably our stance is going to be if you have a legitimate medical need, it [the policy] says you need to bring in all the authorization. It’s not going to be like, ‘Oh, I got caught smoking marijuana in the bathroom, so now I’ve got this doctor’s note.’ No, it’s all ahead of time, we know who’s going to come and where you’re going to [administer the drug].”

Elsewhere, the board unanimously voted to raise lunch prices to $2.30 for elementary students, $2.40 for middle school and $2.45 for high school. They also agreed to continue the free breakfast program.

The board accepted a bid from MFA Fuel and Oil of Nevada for petroleum products. The bid was for 12 cents per gallon above market price if the district pays by check or 17 cents above market if paying by credit card. Snow said the district normally pays by check. The bid was slightly above MFA’s quote last year of 10 and 15 cents above market, respectively.

Snow reported she had been asked by Community Development Institute, the organization taking over Stockton Head Start this summer, to lease a portion of a district building for $1 per year. After reviewing the terms of the agreement, however, Snow decided not to do the lease as the contract called for the district to assume most of the liability.

Plans were announced for the bench areas of the high school baseball field to be relocated further up the left and right field foul lines to allow for more spectator seating. The cost should be around $15,000. Johnson asked about digging down to make true dugouts and allow even more seating. High school principal Mike Postlewait replied it was unlikely dugouts could be built, as draining problems and buried lines and cables along the left field line could be affected.
The next board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at the middle school office. The annual tax rate hearing meeting will be at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, prior to the board’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. the same evening.

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