Cuts must be deep, board told



February 16, 2010 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — USD 258 school board members were told point blank by outgoing Superintendent of Schools Bob Heigele to cut the 2010-2011 budget by $150,000, and prepare to trim it another $100,000 before the school year begins next fall.
Per-pupil state aid will not increase above this year’s $4,012 level and could drop another $300 per student, Heigele reported after a conversation with Dale Dennis, Education Deputy Commissioner.
“He thinks it’s not out of the realm of possibility,” Heigele noted at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting of the increasing ly bleak financial scenario.
“We’ve started discussions on how we can operate on $250,000 less than we did this year,” Heigele said. “At this point … the board (is) to start considering everything — including staff: certified, classified, unclassified,” he said.
Heigele said consolidating facilities, including moving board offices into the high school, should also be considered.
“The thing I would encourage the board to do is not spend any of your contingency money,” he told them. “I think the real problem will come in 2012, when stimulus money dries up.”
Heigele said the legislature has been relying on the federal funds and not seeking ways to remedy revenue shortfalls in-state.
“So far the legislature has done nothing to make up the $535 million deficit they’re talking about,” he said.
After meeting in executive session, the board approved principal salaries for next year.
Kay Bolt, elementary principal, will be paid $71,800 plus $6,650 for curriculum development; Craig Smith, high school principal, will receive $75,000 for the 2010-2011 school year; and incoming superintendent K.B. Criss will receive $85,000 in compensation.
The salaries were based on adjusted duties, Heigele said, that resulted in a savings of $64,000 to the district.

PURCHASE of a $1,600 portable pitching mound that would allow Humboldt to play baseball at Sweatt Field was denied after issues were raised about parking along 12th Street, near the field.
Other concerns, about the field meeting regulation sizes, were dispelled by Smith, who noted “the only regulation we would not meet is we’re 27 feet from home plate to the backstop.” Regulation is 30 feet. “The infield would be exactly the same dimensions as Walter Johnson Field,” Smith said.
Smith was in favor of moving the games, noting the practicality of manning a single concession stand and posting one gate keeper for both baseball and softball games, which are played in adjoining Manion Field. Smith also noted with the move, the pitching machine could serve both leagues. Biggest advantage, he said, was the opportunity to supervise both teams simultaneously.
Board members, however, had heard predominantly negative comments from the public regarding parking and the possibility of fly balls hitting cars. Those issues prevailed.
In his report to the board on the ANW Special Education Cooperative, Don Hauser noted another case where a child was left aboard a school bus after the driver departed was brought up at the January meeting. As a result, he said, No Child Left Behind buttons will be installed at the rear of the busses. The buttons must be pressed before a driver shuts the engine off or alarms sound and lights flash, Hauser said. The requisite walk down the aisle should ensure no child is left sitting on the bus all day.
The co-op has seen an increase in the number of out-of-district foster children served since Jan. 1, Hauser noted, but is having trouble locating records, such as previous Individual Education Plans, for such children. Hauser did not know the origin of the increased caseload.
At the elementary level, Bolt said that Galen Bigelow of Modern Copy in Moran donated a new copier to replace a nonfunctioning one. Bigelow has a child at the school.
The school will host a hot dog supper and community bingo fundraiser March 4 in the old gym, she said.
The seventh grade boys basketball team ended their season undefeated, Smith noted.

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