MSD spending down reserves

MEEKER | The Meeker Board of Education (Board) approved the school district’s 2018-2019 budget June 11. Their projected revenues for the year are $7.1 million while projected expenses are $7.7 million, leaving a deficit of $600,000. Board member Tom Allen, at the meeting last month, pretty well summarized the sense of comfort with this deficit as they have a goal of spending down the district reserve and a record of spending less while gaining more revenue than predicted.

Major aspects to the projected expenses for the next school year include a 6 percent increase in health insurance costs, STEP and a 1.5 percent cost of living increase for all staff, slight increases in County Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) and classified staff costs, an extra part-time teacher at the middle school along with increases in information technology and athletic uniform expenses.

District revenue highlights include a slight bump-up from the state, interest increases and vocational increases. During the meeting high school principal Amy Chinn revealed that the district is working with Carmen McKay and Beth Willey of the county department of human services to take advantage of the state Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program which can help fund certain school expenses.

The board approved Superintendent Chris Selle’s recommendation to shift the district property, liability and automobile insurance program from the state pool, which is Front Range-based, to the locally based Mountain West Insurance Agency, saving the district about $30,000.

As part of the budget action, $130,000 from the capital reserve fund was approved for improvements involving items identified in the district’s facilities/capital needs analysis. While the approval is open ended toward priority projects, considerations include concrete caps on visitor bleachers at the stadium, safety glass for the middle school entry, finishing middle school landscaping, panic button connections to 911 in all three schools, maker space electrical upgrades at the middle school and a small mower for groundskeeping.

In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignations of Brian Conrado as a seasonal groundskeeper, Becky Ridings as head cheer coach, and Brian Merrifield as head high school baseball coach. Approval was given for new hires: Bradley Hagstrom, sixth grade English language arts teacher; Melinda Walls, who attended in person to meet the board, first grade teacher; Winter Blazon, elementary school paraprofessional; Ty Gates as middle school assistant football coach; and the transfer of Brittany Gregory from first grade to kindergarten teacher.

The slate of otherwise unchanged fall and winter athletic coaches for middle and high school teams was also approved. Only assistant coach positions for high school football, volleyball and girls’ basketball remain unfilled. Superintendent Chris Selle reported that all needed instructional positions are now filled.

Board members Kevin Amack, Bob Dorsett and Bud Ridings were re-appointed as the Meeker BOE members to the county BOCES board. Amack is currently the BOCES board chair. Rangely School District members on the BOCES board now are Jason Cox, Sam Tolley and Joyce Key.