2011-05-12 / Local & State

Forbes Road Adopts Tentative 11-12 Budget

No tax increase and no elimination of programs for now
By Jean Snyder

The Forbes Road School District’s board of directors adopted a tentative 2011-12 operating budget last Monday that calls for no tax increase, but also heard from about six teachers and community members who represented the 30-40 in attendance to show support for programs they feared would be axed from the budget during what is a challenging time for school districts across the state.

The tentative budget shows $6,879,834.78 in expenditures, with $ 6,456,497 in revenue and $423,337.78 in other financing sources.

Those in attendance to give public comment were reacting to information that had been discussed earlier about ways in which to balance budgets and still provide all that is required under Chapter 4, which sets forth classes that must be offered in school districts. Some said that a lack of resolution of these issues was causing low staff morale.

Classes and activities not required include art, music, library, physical education, family and consumer science, technology education, guidance counseling and literacy/math coaches. Other areas not required by the state also include extracurricular activities such as sports, music, student government and student transportation.

School superintendent, Fred Foster told the “News” most of those in attendance came to support fine arts classes and also to support no cuts in staff.

Foster went on to say that the tentative budget, with no tax increases, indicates “we are by no means out of the woods, but at this time we are not recommending any programs to be eliminated or reduced.”

With regard to the possible areas to cut, Foster said, “We put them out with the philosophy that if we are going to look at reduction strategies we would look at all strategies, energy costs and transportation, with programs and staff being the last areas to review. We are reviewing all positions and for our paraprofessionals, we are reducing health benefits to only the employee with the option for them to purchase additional coverage if they so choose. We will also be recommending part-time employees when applicable.

Foster said that he also reviewed all transportation routes earlier this year and cut routes down from 10 buses and five vans to currently seven buses and three vans. He said also that the school has already reduced maintenance staff.

In a related matter, the board took no action and unanimously tabled some recommendations for savings that included elimination of the Instructional Support Program and its instructor, the Reading Recovery program and its instructor, the K-4 program and its instructor and the business education program and its instructor, effective June 10, 2011.

In addition to approving a tentative 2011-12 operating budget, the directors also approved the 2011-12 Fulton County Area Vo- Tech operating budget in the amount of $758,193.

Also last Monday evening, the board approved a new bus contract with Snyder Bus Lines LLC of Everett. Cory Snyder was in attendance and was introduced. The contract is for five years from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2016, at the state reimbursement rate.

Also under transportation matters, the board authorized a fuel adjustment of 5 cents per mile for contracted transportation providers of 20-passenger or more vehicles and 2 cents per mile for vans effective retroactive to January 3, 2011

During building updates, elementary Principal Paul Swope said the Red Bird program will be offered on an every- other- day schedule for the 2011/12 school year. Red Bird students will be transported on the regular route buses in the morning and afternoon as their day will start at 8:05 and end at 3:15. Parents that registered their children will be notified with more details, including which days their child will be attending the program. Also a request for an elementary school field trip to Del Grosso’s Amusement Park on May 27 as a reward for good attendance and citizenship was approved.

The board also addressed other routine items, including the appointments of Rotz and Stonesifer as local auditors for a three-year contract at $18,000, $18,250 and $18,500. The board also voted to retain Andrews & Beard as school solicitor at $125 for general sessions and $155 for specialized sessions during the 2011-12 school year. The board voted to retain F&M Trust Co. as school depository and to retain Chanin Rotz- Mountz as board treasurer for the 2011-12 school year.

The board authorized the collection of earned income taxes by the Fulton County Tax Collection Committee in conformance with other school districts and municipalities in the county.

Building-use authorizations were given for use of the auditorium on May 20 for Red Bird graduation from 9:30-11:30 a.m.; use of the field hockey field for girls camp in grades 5-12 August 8-11 from 8 a.m.-noon and for girls in grades 3 and 4 August 5-11 from 6-8 p.m.; and use of the gymnasium and weight room during the off-season of basketball as coordinated with the athletic director and facility manager.

The board also approved a request from the Auditorium Association to sponsor a talent night in the auditorium on May 21 at 7 p.m. if there is sufficient student interest. A dress rehearsal is also scheduled for May 17.

The board approved a list of items to be sold that includes parallel bars, horse, uneven bars, balance beam, small trampoline, old mats and a landing mat.

The board also voted to advertise for blacktop repairs to the intermediate playground, primary playground, parking area and for removal of old school pods.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the list of potential graduates as presented pending completion of state and local requirements.

The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for June 6, 2011

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