Farwell BOE adopts $12 million plus budget

In their last meeting of the school year, Farwell’s Board of Education amended the district’s 2011-12 budget, and adopted their 2012-13 budget.

The only addition that differed from the 2011-12 General Fund budget the Board was presented with at their last meeting was an additional $25,000 in “ed jobs” money from the Federal government.  “It’s as close to operational money as you’ll ever find from the Federal government.  They said, ‘spend it on education things’ essentially,” Business Manager Jacob Sullivan explained.  He said the money was used to pay for part of a high school teacher.

When all expenses and revenues are tallied up, Sullivan estimated the General Fund balance at the end of the 2011-12 school year to be $548,874.  “My anticipation is that we’ll come in a little better than that $548 [thousand].  That’s typically what happens,” Sullivan told the Board.  The amended budget was passed unanimously, 6-0, with President Max Paine absent.

As for the 2012-13 General Fund budget, Sullivan projected the revenues to be $11,847,000, the expenses to be $12,304,000, and the ending fund balance to be $92,000.  “This budget is built on the premise of levying 18 mils of property taxes on non-homestead property.  As in the past year, that millage is the same,” Sullivan said.  The appropriations resolution to approve that budget was also passed unanimously.

The amended Food Service budget for 2011-12 was approved as a summary budget, because, Sullivan explained, the State does not require approval of specific line items but, rather, a budget total.  The beginning balance was $82,694, and the ending balance was $82,764.  For the 2012-13 school year, the Food Service budget projected an ending balance of $75,764.  Both summary budgets were unanimously approved by the Board.

Sullivan also presented the Debt Retirement Fund budgets and the Capital Projects Fund budgets for both school years, even though the Board is no longer required to approve them.  The 2011-12 Debt Retirement Fund showed an ending balance of $177,605, while Sullivan projected that the upcoming school year’s ending balance would be $165,805.  The loss of revenue in the fund was explained as a loss of taxable value inside the district, which Sullivan said was a decrease of nearly $2.5 million, which equated to a $20,600 loss in tax levy revenue.

Lastly, Sullivan went over the Capital Projects Fund, which will end this school year with a balance of $218,991.  The only project noted in the budget for the 2012-13 school year was a payment to the Village of Farwell for the Street Project, totaling an estimated $26,000.

Sullivan projected the 2012-13 ending fund balance to be $217,991.  The Board briefly discussed the next possible capital projects, which would be replacing the roof on about three-quarters of the High School (not including the gymnasium) and doing more renovations to the Alternative Education building.  With replacement of the rest of the High School roof, Plant Manager/Transportation Supervisor Rex Raymond said that all the roofs on all the buildings were done.

Superintendent Carl Seiter reported that he expected renovations to the Timberland Alternative Education building to be, for the time being, an ongoing process.  Seiter said that there would need to be electrical work to upgrade the panel and clean up the existing wiring.  Between finishing the drawings to include upgrading the electrical service, submitting the plans to the State for approval, and actually starting the work, Seiter anticipated that the renovations would most likely not be able to be completed this summer.

Due to time constraints, the Board approved both the first and second readings of the Internet Acceptable Use Policy at Monday’s meeting.  While having a first and second reading at the same meeting is allowed, it is normally spread over two meetings.  The Board was required to pass the policy before July 1st to be in compliance with CIPA, the Children Internet Protection Act.  If not approved in time, the district would risk losing funding for internet services provided by the Universal Service Fund.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, Farwell’s BOE:

*approved operational invoices in the amount of $259,075.27.

*approved donations totaling $1,534.90:  $200 from Bonham Insurance Agency for Girls Basketball, $400 for Marching Season Music and $334.90 for instrument repair from the Farwell Band Boosters, $100 from Edward Gauthier and Kelly Smith in memory of Marilyn Pitchford, and a $500 NASP matching grant from Pope & Young Club for high school archery.

*approved the Technology purchase, not to exceed $18,500, to replace some Middle School teachers’ desktop computers and laptops in a Middle School lab.

*unanimously voted to authorize Jacob Sullivan to act in the best interest of the district in negotiations with Consumers Energy to reach an agreement regarding use of district property to construct a pipeline valve.

*went into Closed Session at 8:09 p.m. to discuss negotiations.

*reminded those attending the meeting that there would not be a work session meeting the first Monday in July, but will hold their only regular July meeting on July 16th