The Big Horn County School District No. 4 board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14 included an auditor’s report. James Seckman, CPA, presented the district’s financial statements as of June 30, 2018.
Seckman said the district was in compliance and in good financial shape. He also had high praise for Janelle Craft, who is the administrative assistant of the district. With the recent departure of business manager Andy DeGraw, Seckman said that Craft was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
His report included that cash assets were up just over $1 million from the previous year, capital leases were paid off and the district is at the maximum the state allows for cash reserves vs. operating expenses. “Your depreciation reserve is very healthy. You have more money put aside in depreciation reserve than most districts. You got ahead of the curve. We have districts that have no depreciation reserve,” said Seckman.
He highlighted the statements of revenues and expenses for the general fund. There was also discussion about the debt service cash. Seckman said that cash is just sitting there. “We had looked into this before about what kind of restrictions are on that debt service cash. Because there is a possibility that we could use that cash for the depreciation reserve. If necessary we may be able to transfer those funds. That was for the original proceeds out of a bond issue. There are some strings attached. If we get down to it, we may be able to transfer that to depreciation reserve or utilize it for some construction capacity.”
The district was found to be in compliance.
A copy of the report is available to the public at the district office.
Dave Kerby gave the superintendent’s report. He started with comments about the audit. Like Seckman, he praised Craft as well as Lori Thon and Anna Rosencranse.
Kerby felt that the opening meetings with the full staff went well, as did the orientation for the new teachers. A family staff barbecue was to be held Aug. 16 at the fairgrounds.
There will be a top-off ceremony on Sept. 6 at 2:30 p.m. The last beam in the construction of the middle/high school building will be lifted and put in place. Middle and high school students will sign the beam the day before. A similar ceremony will happen for the elementary school in the future.
The executive construction committee met. They picked out the metal siding for the schools. Kerby said he spoke with the School Facilities Division (SFD) regarding the enhancements and alternatives the district committed to last year. “Enhancements was $1.2 million. Alternates was $700 something. If we had to, we would pay for all of them but we would like to have the state pay for some of them. Del McOmie (director of the SFD) told us that once the project gets out of the ground far enough, where we reach a comfort level, we are not going to have as many potential unanticipated costs we could free up some of our contingency money,” said Kerby.
Since then, the cost of the covered walkway and the polished concrete in the gym were moved back into the construction budget from contingency due to favorable bids. This saved the district around $119,000.
The siding chosen will cost an additional $89,000 from the original bid, but according to Kerby the district is still under the overall total cost for alternatives. The SFD OK’d the release of a portion of the contingency funds.
• A second advocate meeting/training was held.
• The Century 21 position is open due to the resignation of Amber DeGraw.
• The Fink water line has been installed.
• The picnic with school board members from the Greybull district went well.
Tony Anson gave the RMHS report.
The highlights included:
• They are waiting for the WY-Topp data and should see in November the breakdown by schools.
• The schools did well in ACT scores. The information will be released to the public shortly.
• Bev Clemens will be coming to the district to work with staff on building formative assessments to meet standards.
• High school football and volleyball practice started Aug. 13. Twelve students showed up for football. The volleyball students are practicing in Manderson until the refinishing of the gym floor in Basin is complete. At least 16 students are out for volleyball.
Principal Tracy Pare gave the Laura Irwin Elementary report.
She said that enrollment was down but that they have had some additional inquires. The enrollment may even out. She also said the school has a new secretary and five new teachers. One of the main things they are doing is working toward boosting moral and culture. They are using a book, “The Energy Bus,” about thinking positively.
• A new science program will be launched.
• They are looking at new language arts materials.
• Kindergarten enrollment was 22 students. A couple of students dropped but there have been requests for kindergarten packets. This brings the number of students to 20.
New Special Education Director Lee Clucas gave his report to the board. He thanked the board for allowing him to serve the district. He has been able to spend a lot of time with the SPED staff. He is getting to know the system.
• The elementary school SPED has been reorganized.
• Most of the SPED paras will be working multiple places within the schools with different students.
• He was given the green light to be involved in the new construction and give input on it for the special ed department needs.
In other business:
• Masonic Lodge member Jim Whipps brought an example of what the cornerstones at the new schools would look like. He noted that there should be space behind it for a time capsule. Tom Farrens from WEMBER showed the board the approximate size.
• Board member Greg Gloy gave the BOCES report.
• School and rec board member Brenton Paxton was not present so the Rec Board update was given by Heath Hopkin and Chris Kampbell.
• Two executive sessions were called. The first one was for personnel and student behavior. The second was for personnel.
• Farrens said that there have been no change orders on the construction project. The buildings are still on schedule and the hope is they will be enclosed by Thanksgiving. Of interest to the board and public, there are 410 drilled piers.
• The vote regarding policy on first meal out was tabled after an extended discussion.
• Sara Nelson was approved as a full-time bus driver.
• The resignation of Lola Stamstad was accepted.
• Trevor Whitaker was approved for hire as the business manager.
• William Trombley was approved as an assistant middle school football coach.
• Jeremy Pouska was approved to be moved from assistant middle school football coach to assistant high school coach.
• The audit report was approved.
BY BARBARA ANNE GREENE