SCSD#9 approves budget, appoints new board member

BIG PINEY – It was a brief but important meeting for the Sublette County School District No. 9 last Tuesday evening, as they accepted the resignation of school board treasurer Bobby Hammer, approved a replacement and addressed the budget for the 2017-18 school year.

As new business got underway, the board first approved the 2016-17 budget amendment resolution, which saw a general fund budget expenditures increase of $1,441,793.43 and a depreciation reserve fund account increase of $230,525. The board then held its budget hearing for fiscal year 2017-18, which saw no discussion.

The board adopted a budget for the 2017-18 school year, which was in the amount of $14,084,635.

Chief financial officer Amy Anschutz said it should be enough to cover expenditures, as long as unforeseen abatements don’t arise. She budgeted $527,495 for abatements from the county. That number, based on what the district’s preliminary funding model guarantee is, gives them enough money to cover expenditures they have now, she said. If they get hit with an additional $200,000 to $300,000 worth of abatements, on top of the $527,495 budgeted, they will have to tap into cash reserves.

“As it stands right now, this budget doesn’t require us to tap into any cash reserves to meet operational expenditures of the general fund,” Anschutz said.

Following discussion, the board unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming year.

The next item of discussion regarded optional mill levy approval for the 2017-18 year. The optional mills consisted of one mill for the Sublette 9 Recreational Board, a half mill for Western Sublette 9 BOCES and 0.2 mill for Region V BOCES, which was unanimously approved.

While discussing the approval for elementary, middle school and high school student handbooks, one item regarding requirements for valedictorian and salutatorian honors during graduation ceremony arose.

Prior to recent changes made, the district didn’t have any restrictions. New changes state a student must be at the district for a minimum of eight full semesters to be considered for either valedictorian or salutatorian.

“So, we can’t have a student that just moves in for a half year or a year and become valedictorian or salutatorian,” vice chair Bill Tanner said.

Assistant treasurer Glade Jones said he was good with making the requirement two years of attendance in the school system, while chair John Fear suggested maybe having credits be taken into consideration.

The board agreed to stick with the eight full semesters noted in the new handbook. If changes are needed, they can readdress the matter at another time.

“We’ve got to start somewhere; we can fine tune it later on,” board clerk Darby Hoffman said.

Superintendent Steve Loyd suggested asking the high school to look at credits versus semesters and potentially extend the semester requirement, after which, a presentation could be made for the board to fine tune at a later date.

Following an executive session to discuss personnel, the board reopened the public meeting to address Hammer’s resignation from the board. The board approved the resignation unanimously and joked at being a “short-timer” on the board, since he was voted in last fall.

“Thank you guys,” Hammer said. “It’s been a pleasure.”

The board then had to choose a replacement for the seat from six candidates that submitted letters of interest. Those included Cody Raza, Kara Losik, Dawn Marquardt, Greg Clark, Eric Alcorn and Brian Meador. The board ranked the candidates, eventually settling on Raza as the new board member. The decision was unanimously approved, but Raza won’t be sworn in at next month’s regular meeting.

During community comments, Raza spoke of his desire to fill Hammer’s seat.

“I’ve got a lot of vested interest in the kids,” Raza said. “I’d like to help out.”

In reports, Superintendent Steve Loyd stated that summer maintenance/construction projects are moving along nicely. In terms of the bus barn, which collapsed under the weight of wet snow during an October storm last fall, it is not likely they will have a solution before the start of the coming school year. So far, the district has hit a few snags with getting the barn back up, making progress slow at this point in time. He hoped to have more information next month, but at this point he says it looks like they will be using the Sublette County Fairgrounds again this coming school year. Other projects taking place this summer include carpet and flooring work for the middle school and re-roofing of the Fine Arts Administration Building.

The board will host a work session on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 4:30 p.m., with the next regular meeting taking place later that afternoon at 7 p.m. Both the workshop and the regular meeting will be held in the Fine Arts Administration Building boardroom.

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