Meeker board OKs preliminary budget

MEEKER — Although final budget approval won’t occur until later, even into early next year, a preliminary budget was presented to the Meeker School Board at a meeting May 19.
“The board does not approve the budget until later,” said Superintendent Dan Evig. “We present a preliminary budget this time of year. The final approval takes place later. It used to be Oct. 1; it’s later than that now. The board can adjust the budget clear into January.”
Given the uncertain economic times, Evig said the district tried to keep budget numbers in line with past years.
“We try to build the budget on pretty conservative numbers,” Evig said. “Our building (administrators) turn in a budget, then we go through those. School personnel is the biggest expense. We look at the numbers of teachers, and those kinds of things. Hopefully, we’ve done a good job.”
The total budget, is “just over $6 million,” Evig said.
“That’s slightly up (over last year’s budget),” Evig said. “It’s a small percentage of an increase. With the economy and the way the Legislature worked this year, we’re anticipating our revenues being a little less.”
There will be opportunities to tweak the budget, if needed.
“When budgeting, we have to project what our (student) numbers will be,” Evig said. “We are very conservative in our projection of students. We really try to make adjustments now, and hopefully we’ll have a budget in line with the number of students we’ll have. It’s an interesting exercise, depending on whether you have more or less kids when school starts.
“Budgets in schools are kid-driven,” Evig continued. “You need to be fairly conservative when you have oil and gas development. That’s what we’re trying to do. In Colorado, the law allows you to average your student enrollment for five years, so if you had a gigantic drop, you have a basement of that in a five-year average. It spreads it out a little bit, which gives you some more time to react.”
The budget does include a salary bump for teachers.
“We are giving our step raises, on our salary schedule, so we would get an increase there,” Evig said.
Besides the budget, the school board devoted much of the May 19 meeting to teachers.
“Most the evening involved teacher evaluations and, subsequently, offering them contracts for the coming school year,” said Mary Strang, board president. “Two new elementary teachers were offered contracts as well, to fill the positions vacated by Debbie Cook and Peggy Strate’s retirements.”
Vicky Tate will move from teaching fifth grade to taking over the elementary school’s physical education position, and Paulette Hanks — wife of Barone Middle School Principal Jim Hanks — will fill Tate’s fifth-grade teaching position. Also, Susan Tenhor-Edelen was offered a fourth-grade teaching position, replacing Strate, Strang said.
Cook is retiring after 34 years as PE teacher for district, and Strate was with the district for 29 years.
Zach Clatterbaugh, technology teacher at BMS, and Lathrop Hughes, an eighth-grader at BMS, presented a demonstration at the May 19 meeting on how computer equipment — received through a grant from Hewlett Packard — was utilized.
“The grant was successfully completed in April and now the equipment belongs to the district, which affords many opportunities to the BMS students and staff,” Strang said.
The school received five laptop computers, cameras, projectors and a printer.