School Board approves $20 million dollar budget; discusses A-F grades

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The Guthrie Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a $20 million plus dollar budget for the 2012-13 school year.

The board met Monday evening for their regular scheduled meeting. President Jody Walker and Clerk Orville Cornelius were absent.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Dennis Schulz explained portions of the $20,716,723.83 budget to the board.

Schulz highlighted the current General Fund, which is required to be no more than 14% for schools meeting Guthrie’s criteria, saw an increase of $665,078.57 from the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

“The current fund balance of $3,178,910.20 (15.29%) represents an increase of $665,078.57 from the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year. In order to provide a minimal level of financial stability, we should make every effort to maintain the fund balance at 10% or approximately $2.1 million over the
upcoming years.

At one time, the General Fund balance was required by law to be no greater than 12%. However due to hardships created by revenue shortfalls at the state level in past years, the legislature, in 2005, increased the allowable fund balance to 14% for schools with General Fund revenue of $10,000,000.00 and above which includes Guthrie Public Schools.

The top three budget amounts belong to certified, support and administration salaries. The three combine for $14,017,820.02 with certified teachers budgeted for 9,994,110.00, support salaries (secretaries, cafeteria workers, janitors, etc.) have a budget of $2,510, 492.53 and administration comes in at $1,563,217.49.

Prior to the budget conversation, Carmen Walters, Executive Director of Federal Programs and Elementary Education, was set to review the District Report Card (A-F school grades) handed out by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, but instead informed board members on the State’s formula on grading school districts after the state board elected not to post the scores.

The state board voted unanimously Monday morning to delay the report cards that were scheduled to be released at 1:30 on Monday. The state board has scheduled a date of Oct. 25 to perhaps release the grades.

Last week, several school superintendents, including Guthrie’s Dr. Mike Simpson, attended a meeting in Oklahoma City to voice frustrations with the fairness the state’s A-F school evaluation system.

Under the new system, schools would be graded on an A-F scale. Only 10 percent of schools will get an A, with the majority getting a B. However, several school districts call the system misleading. Simpson said on the state’s current formula, “I have little confidence on them being accurate.”

Simpson went on to say that superintendents are not against the grade system program, but that it needs to be done fair and is easily understood.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi released this statement:

The decision by the State Board of Education on Monday to postpone the release of the A-F grades for public schools across the state was a disappointment.
Parents across the state were expecting to see this information so they could better understand how their schools are performing, and how they could help those schools better teach their children. We worked diligently with administrators across the state to ensure they understood the factors involved in determining these grades. We had districts across the state call us Monday who wanted to release these report cards because they are excited about the grading system. In fact, many districts had school board meetings and parent meetings set to begin the process of explaining the report cards and gaining support to improve student achievement in their districts. I look forward to giving parents this important information that they deserve and have been promised after the two-week extension.

In other action taken by the board:

– Jordan Hodge transfers to the high school to replace Candy Griffin as the girls physical education. Griffin retired from the position on Sept. 30.

– approved agreement with Smart Start Logan County for 2012-2013

– approved agreement with United Community Action Head Start for 2012-2013

– approved agreement with Trak-1 Technology for background checks for prospective employees and volunteers for 2012-2013

– approved a contract with Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology for Secondary and Full-Time Adult Career and Technology Education Programs for 2012-2013

– approved contract agreement with Ms. Kathy Frazer to provide tutoring for Title I students attending Saint Mary’s Catholic School in Guthrie for 2012-2013


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