School board approves budget, taxes increase by 69 cents

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Alta School board approved its 2008-09 budget recently. Tax askings have increased from $12.86 per thousand to $13.55 per thousand. The 69 cent increase is due to the less amount of dollars coming in to the district from the state as enrollemnts decline.

The board has also approved a 2.6 percent increase for teachers inthe district; administrators have frozen their salaries due to the tighter budgets.

Health insurance jumped which will also cost the district more in the upcoming year.

The teachers had asked for additional personnal leave on the board compromised with them.

The board agreed to grant two additional personal days for teachers who have been employed at the school one to sevent years; an additional day will be added for those who have been employed for eight or more years. If those personal days are not used, the teachers can turn them in for $95 each, the same amount paid to substitute teachers or they can be turned into sick days that can be carried over year to year.

Two teachers have taken advantage pof the early retirement package - Mike Norris and Carolyn Lessmeier; two teachers are being reduced and ag instructor Andy Zinnel has resigned as his hours were cut in half due to budge restraints.

The School District Promotion Committee has met again and is planning a ceremony on May 14 to unveil the new brochures and signage for the district and city joint effort.

A letter has been received from Schaller-Crestland and Newell-Fonda inviting the Alta board to explore sharing opportunities with them.

Maharry said it is important to keep all options open with the neighboring districts. The boards will get together in the near future to discuss the programs each has available.

The bnoard approved moving teacher Sherry Harms from first grade to second grade for the following year. There will only be two sections of kindergarten and first grade next year; this year there has been three of each.

The board discussed charging a small monthly fee for the 4-year old program

Principal Maxine Lampe is asking the board to consider a fee of $5 to $10 a month for the four-year old program. The fee would be used to address expenses such as classroom supplies. These fees will be waived if a student's parents cannot afford them.

A purchase of new computers to replace those damaged and to update some in offices and library was approved.

A number of computers were damaged in the vandalism to the elementary school last fall. Linda Huseman and the technology committee are asking the board to approve twenty desktops and twenty monitors from Byte speed Computers. Also needed are a desktop for Luann Ridout, a desktop for Julia Brundeen, a computer without a monitor for Claudina Grienke, a computer without a monitor for Connie Jensen, a computer without a monitor for the library checkout, and two workstations for the library.

The cost of these is $13,980 for the elementary lab and $4,300 for the offices and library. $12,758.56 has been received in insurance funds. We are hoping the Library Board will pay for one checkout and two workstations as well. Linda Husemen received multiple bids and believes Bytespeed is the best value. Supt. Maharry will also talk to the Alta Community Education Foundation members to see if there is interest in assisting with the cost of updating the computer lab and library computers. This is with the understanding that insure money has already been received and the amount may be less than this if the Foundation assists the district.

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